AJMLS Professor Travels to New Mexico Detention Center to Represent Immigrant Children

Joseph Rosen, Immigration Law adjunct professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School  will travel to an immigration detention center in New Mexico next week to represent some of the Central American detainees who have recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Rosen will be helping immigrant children and their parents determine if they have viable claims for asylum in the U.S. and seek relief from deportation. A former U.S. Customs Service special agent, Rosen will be doing the work in Artesia, N.M., for free in connection with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“For those with little or no resources that still see the U.S. as the sanctuary against evil that they have been subjected to, these hearings are their only hope,” Rosen said on his law firm’s Facebook page. “It humbles me to be a part of this and it also satisfies my sense of adventure and excitement to be a part of this effort.”

Read the full article on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website.

AJMLS Helps Launch Free Family Law Clinic in Fulton County

The Superior Court of Fulton County Family Division in partnership with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) and the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association (GHBA) is pleased to announce a new pilot project beginning this September designed to address the growing need for legal assistance for the self-represented individuals in family court. The Fulton County Family Law Clinic (FLC) will provide legal services to low income persons, including non-English speaking litigants, involved in family matters. Under the direction of professor, attorney and GHBA member, Bernadette Olmos, third-year law students at AJMLS will be actively engaged throughout the year in interviewing clients, completing child support worksheets, assisting unrepresented litigants with paperwork for simple divorces, name changes and legitimization, and representing clients at status conferences, mediations, uncontested hearings and TPO hearings.

Attorney Olmos stated, “The externs in the FLC are able to gain valuable insights into the operation of Fulton County’s Family Division while dealing with actual client matters. They also are able to develop a better understanding of the legal and socioeconomic problems common in the practice of law.” These services will extend the current assistance offered by the Family Law Information Center allowing for litigants to receive additional support.

“The dearth of attorneys available for low to middle income families has created a civil representation gap that continues to grow. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is honored to be a small part of the solution filling that gap while providing a rich and exciting educational experience for our students. The Family Law Intensive Externship Clinic is a win-win for the school, the court, and the citizens of Fulton County,” says Renata Turner, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Assistant Dean of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning. “The GHBA is honored to partner with the Fulton County Superior Court Family Division and AJMLS in such a worthwhile endeavor. This is an undertaking that will directly address a need in underrepresented communities while providing the law students, many of whom are minorities, with a priceless opportunity to develop legal skills and experience first-hand the value of community service. The project falls squarely within GHBA’s mission and we hope to continue this partnership for years to come,” says Ana Maria Martinez, President of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association.

According to Yolanda L. Lewis, District Court Administrator, “The addition of a new, innovative clinic further reinforces the Superior Court’s commitment to community engagement. This project is a natural extension of our pledge to promote public awareness to the mechanisms available to those truly in need.” The Superior Court of Fulton County is dedicated to the administration of justice within the Atlanta Circuit, 5th Judicial Administrative District. Coupled with that dedication, we are also committed to operational transparency and forming stronger bonds within the community we serve. “Through such partnerships, the Superior Court has the opportunity to demonstrate to the law students the value of using one’s legal skills to meaningfully assist people within their community. In addition, being able to practice in a court setting is an invaluable learning opportunity that helps prepare students for future practice,” stated Deputy Chief Judge Wendy Shoob.

Beginning Tuesday, September 2, 2014, the clinic will be held each Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Family Law Information Center located in the Justice Center Tower, Suite T-704 at 185 Central Avenue, SW, Atlanta, Georgia.

Alumnus Sworn in as Circuit Court Judge for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee

The law school is proud to announce that alumnus, Justin Angel, was elected and sworn in today as the Circuit Court Judge for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee making him first circuit court judge to be elected from Bledsoe County, which is the smallest county in the district. At age 33, Angel was one of the youngest people to hold a trial judge post in Tennessee. He’s also the first Republican in three or four decades to hold a trial judge’s seat in the 12th Judicial District and the first to hail from Bledsoe County.

He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “I made no secret about my age. I think citizens everywhere I campaigned were excited about a fresh face, new blood and new ideas, and someone with youth, enthusiasm and passion.” To read the full article, visit the Chattanooga Times Free Press website.

Congratulations to Justin Angel for this outstanding accomplishment and well-deserved honor. The law school looks forward to sharing your future achievements.

Alumnus Desmond Humphrey Discusses DUI Charges and Second Chances with Atlanta Legal Experts

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus, Desmond Humphrey and a panel of other legal professionals were interviewed by Atlanta Legal Experts Radio this morning to discuss driving under the influence (DUI) and the implications of being found guilty of a DUI. The interview also included an interesting debate discussing if individuals should take field sobriety tests and breathalyzers.

When asked if he thought criminals deserve second chances, Humphrey cited his strong religious beliefs and passion for criminal defense as his reasons why everyone deserves a second chance. “Jesus’ love for us qualifies us to receive second, third, and even fifth chances and for me to be able to help someone receive a second chance is why I practice criminal defense.”

Humphrey recently opened a criminal defense law firm named Humphrey Law & Associates, LLC which allows him to seek justice for clients from all walks of life. The Atlanta-based firm is committed to taking a problem-solving approach to the practice of law. Humphrey attributes a large part of his success to the education he received at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

“John Marshall is truly a school that teaches you how to practice law in addition to learning the law. I have had a few cases that I was able to settle in favor of my clients due to the knowledge I received while in school,” said Humphrey.

In addition to opening his own firm, Humphrey partners with two fellow John Marshall alumni, Victoria Bridgman and Ashley Black, to work with a non-profit organization called Lawyer Up which focuses on educating the youth and the community at large about the law.

For more information on Desmond Humphrey, please visit his firm’s website. Congratulations to yet another John Marshall alumni on their post-graduate success.

AJMLS Alumna Discusses Personal Injury and Opening Her Own Firm in Radio Interview

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert was recently interviewed on Atlanta Legal Experts Radio regarding personal injury law. Joined by Carol Allen, Amy Pierson, William Vincent, and Charlotte Merritt, Jennifer talked about making a name for herself fighting for her clients’ rights through her firm, The Gore Law Firm, LLC.; which specializes in personal injury, wrongful death, and diminished value cases, located in Alpharetta, Georgia.

During the radio interview, she discussed how to handle a collision caused by an uninsured and underinsured driver, how to find eye-witnesses after a collision, how eye-witnesses can sometimes make or break a case, and special scenarios in personal injury cases that can lead to punitive damages.

Jennifer graduated from John Marshall in 2012 and served as the Student Bar Association president in her 3L year. In addition to being in SBA while in law school, Jennifer was also a member of the AJMLS Chapter of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, was named a Peer Mentor of the Year, Outstanding Student of The Quarter, worked part time in the law library, and worked at a law firm specializing in personal injury. Jennifer credits John Marshall for having a significant impact on her legal career saying, “I am grateful for the opportunities that my legal education has given me.”

She is currently a member of The North Fulton Bar Association, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, a board member of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers as the Chair of The Communications Committee, and Leader of the “Working Moms Lunch.” Jennifer lives with her husband, Angus and their daughter Julia in Roswell, Georgia.

Congratulations to Jennifer on her numerous post-graduate accomplishments and memberships. The full audio of Jennifer’s interview with Atlanta Legal Experts Radio can be found on their website. For more information on Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert and her new firm can be found at The Gore Law Firm, LLC.

Professor Mears Discusses Death Penalty with the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Michael Mears, was recently interviewed by the Chattanooga Times Free Press to discuss delayed justice in Walker Co., GA where many inmates sit on death row for decades while the families of their victims are left to wait hopelessly for justice to be served. In the article, Professor Mears explained the process by which death penalty cases are assigned to local judges and the roles which the courts must play in insuring that each defendant in a death penalty case has a qualified defense attorney.

An excerpt from the article reads:

Michael Mears, the head of the Multi-County Public Defenders Office that represented indigent defendants in capital cases throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, said a district attorney can’t blame the defense in this type of case. The prosecutor has to move the case forward because the defense is always going to delay any hearings. One more day of delays means one more day their client stays alive.

“If people are awaiting death and are waiting for something in the case,” Mears said, “there is no great incentive to push it forward.”

“A lot of district attorneys shy away from it,” he said. “It’s a lot of work. Quite frankly, it’s the responsibility of the judge … It starts with the judge. The case is on his docket. He’s got to stay on top of it. Now, some of these cases fall through the cracks.”

To read the full article, visit the Chattanooga Times Free Press website. More information on Professor Mears can be found on his faculty profile.

Atlanta Legal Experts Radio Interviews AJMLS about its Expanding LL.M. Program

Atlanta Legal Experts Radio recently interviewed a diverse group of legal professionals all associated with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School: Associate Dean for Scholarships, Jeffrey Van Detta; LL.M. Program Director, Lisa Kaplan; LL.M. in American Legal Studies alumna, Anna Sokol; and J.D. alumna, Tiffany Simmons.

Tiffany and Anna have gone on to used their John Marshall education to impact the legal community. Tiffany is an attorney at Simmons Law, LLC where she  counsels clients in the areas of business, criminal, and entertainment law. She plans to return to AJMLS to pursue her LL.M. in Employment Law this fall. Anna works with the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group P.C. where she specializes in working with foreign athletes, entertainers, artists, foreign professionals, and U.S. businesses seeking to employee foreign professionals.

The four John Marshall representatives discussed, in detail, the law school’s three LL.M. programs with host Emily Rowell. Interview questions ranged from the a breakdown of each programs benefits to how the new rule in Georgia that allows foreign-trained attorneys with LL.M. degrees to sit for the Georgia Bar exam will impact the program.

The full interview with Atlanta Legal Experts Radio contains valuable information for J.D. graduates, foreign or U.S.-trained, that are interested in pursuing an LL.M. degree in the areas of Employment Law or American Legal Studies. More information on Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s innovative LL.M. programs can be found on the school’s website. LL.M. Director, Lisa Kaplan, is also available at lkaplan@johnmarshall.edu.

*Note: the LL.M. Program in Employment Law is still accepting applications for its Fall 2014 entering cohort. Apply today!

Article from Professor Fulcher Listed on SSRN’s Top Ten Download List

An article from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Patrice Fulcher, was recently listed on Social Science Research Network’s (SSRN) Top Ten download list for the topic Security and Safety. The article also reached the Top Ten downloads list for the Criminology eJournal, Political Economy – Development eJournal, and the Economic Inequality & the Law eJournal on SSRN. Professor Fulcher’s paper, “The Double Edged Sword of Prison Video Visitation: Claiming to Keep Families Together While Furthering the Aims of the Prison Industrial Complex,” discusses how the rise of video visitation in prisons may appear beneficial to maintaining strong family ties when in actuality it robs inmates of face-to-face interactions with their loved ones. For more, read the Abstract below. The full article can be downloaded through the SSRN website.


Each year, the United States (“U.S.”) spends billions to house the country’s massive prison population. The need to board over 2.3 million incarcerated human beings has U.S. correctional departments looking for ways to increase revenues and offset costs. According to these correctional agencies, one major expense is prison visitation. In order to reduce spending and alleviate safety concerns, U.S. federal, state, and private correctional facilities have turned to video visitation as an alternative to in-person visits.

The use of prison video visitation systems started in 1995. Since then, many private telecommunications companies have professed to have the solution to correctional visitation problems. These companies promote video visitation as a cheap, safe, and easy alternative to in-person visits, as well as a profitable means of generating revenues. Government and private correctional institutions, buying into these endorsements, have reduced or completely eliminated face-to-face visits and installed video visitation systems within their walls. Under this structure, inmates use video stations in their cellblock to visit family and friends at corresponding video kiosks within the institution; or inmates visit loved-ones who are at home or elsewhere outside prison walls via computer Internet video visitation.

In order to sell this method of visitation to the public, U.S. correctional agencies contend that video visitation helps to keep families together by allowing inmates greater contact opportunities with loved ones. In some regards, it may be argued that video visitation does assist in the preservation of family units. Inmates are often forced to serve time in prisons miles away from their homes, so outside visits are far and few between. Yet, through the use of in-home video visitation configurations, inmates are able to connect with relatives who reside hours away.

At first glance, this visitation scheme may seem beneficial, but this Article argues that prison video visitation is a double edge sword. First, prison video visitation may help preserve family units while people are incarcerated, but the elimination of face-to-face visits robs inmates of much needed human contact with their children, spouses, and other family members. Second, almost all in-home prison video visitation systems exploit the relatives and friends of inmates because they charge excessive fees to visit. Third, the economic success of prison video visitation systems is contingent on the number of incarcerated humans. So, like other profiteering schemes of the Prison Industrial Complex (“PIC”), prison video visitation incentivizes incarceration: A decrease in the prison population has a corollary effect on million dollar revenues and corporate profits, hence compelling the need to detain more U.S. inhabitants.

Consequently, this Article argues that face-to-face visitation should be the primary means of contact for families that visit at prison facilities. In order to accomplish this goal, inmates must be assigned to correctional facilities close to their homes if space is available and there is no proven risk to security. Additionally, if prison video visitation is utilized, any fees associated with its use must be regulated to insure that the financial expense is not exorbitant.

More information on Professor Fulcher can be found on her faculty profile.

Professor Dalton Discusses Priest-Penitent Privilege in The Washington Times

Fueling the debate over priest-penitent privilege, is the recent ruling in the Louisiana Supreme Court which states that a teenage girl’s confession to a priest can be used as testimony in a child abuse case. A recent article by The Washington Times says, the Diocese of Baton Rouge deemed the court’s decision a violation of the separation of church and state, and in a rare statement on legal proceedings, declared the ruling an infringement on religious freedom.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Kari Dalton, was consulted and offered her expert opinion on the decision. She says, “I think it’s a very interesting conflict placing priests between centuries-old holy rites and mandatory child abuse statutes.” Professor Dalton adds, “When you involve priests as mandatory reporters under child abuse reports in states, you run into lots of potential constitutional issues.”

Professor Dalton teaches Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II and Pretrial Practice & Procedure at the law school. She is also the author of “The Priest-Penitent Privilege v. Child Abuse Reporting Statutes: How to Avoid the Conflict and Serve Society.”

To read the full article, visit The Washington Times website. More information on Professor Dalton can be found on her faculty profile.

AJMLS Alumna, Tannyka Bent, Tells the Daily Report How She Stays Grounded

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Tannyka Bent says her many activities keep her grounded in a recent interview with the Daily Report. Bent is an artist, who recently donated one of her paintings to be auctioned at the Georgia Lawyers for the Arts gala. She plays softball, kickball and flag football on local club teams, and is looking for a basketball team. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity many Saturdays and teaches Sunday school on Sundays. Tannyka Bent does all of these things in addition to being a transactional attorney for the State Road and Tollway Authority in Atlanta. Below are some highlights from Tannyka Bent’s interview with the Daily Report. For the full interview, visit their website.

With so many talents and interests, what got you into law?

I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. My mom has a good friend who is an attorney, and I interned with him when I finished Mercy College in New York. That clinched my decision. In law school, I loved transactional drafting and received the CALI award for having the highest grade in that class.

I like the law because there isn’t a black-and-white answer to anything. You can be creative in how you interpret it.

Where do you get inspiration?

It can be a natural scene, a painting I see or a color I like. Whenever I get an idea, I jot it down on little pieces of paper. My pockets, purse and wallet are filled with them. I like to let the ideas breathe a bit, and when I start to work the feelings will come.

For the abstract work that I call “Marley,” I used the bright colors that said Jamaica to me and lots of energy in the lines. I was born in the U.S., but my parents came from Jamaica, so it’s part of my heritage.

Is volunteering for Habitat for Humanity a physical outlet as well?

Yes, but it’s more than that. I started working with the Cobb County group two or three years ago. I went through the training to become a crew leader, so I’m often putting down the hammer to explain to five or six others how to put together a wall. Helping to build houses is fun and I’ve learned so much.

Do all these different activities affect your career in any way?

Yes, they keep me grounded. I’m very happy with the work I’m doing, but if all I did day after day was draft contracts, I’d worry about getting burned out. This way, I stay fresh. There’s always something new to do.

Professor Joseph Rosen Discusses Immigration in Special Fourth of July Podcast

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Joseph Rosen was recently interviewed by Mark Deal from U.S. Immigration Podcast in a special Fourth of July episode. As America turned 238 years old, Professor Rosen was selected to speak on the history and future of immigration in the country. Rosen also discussed topics such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, security of the U.S./Mexican border, the discrimination surrounding immigration law development, and more.

Professor Rosen is the managing attorney for Joseph H. Rosen, Immigration Law Group.  He began practicing Immigration Law in June 2001 after retiring from the U.S. Government where he spent 20 years as a Special Agent for the FBI and U.S. Customs.  His law enforcement career includes 10 years of working on or near the U.S. /Mexico border.  He teaches immigration law, as an adjunct professor, at the law school and is a Clinical Director for the school’s Immigration Law Clinic located at Catholic Charities Atlanta.

To listen to the full podcast featuring Professor Rosen, visit U.S. Immigration Podcast.



Professor Mears Discusses the Upcoming Execution of Marcus Wellons

Marcus Wellons, convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1989 is set to be executed on June 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.

However, instead of a three-drug cocktail formerly used, the state of Georgia wants to use one drug — sodium pentothal — to execute Marcus Wellons. In small doses, it is a sedative. The state wants to use a custom-maker to actually make the drug — because the drug manufacturer that normally makes it won’t sell it to conduct executions. However, the identity of the new manufacturer that will make the lethal injection meant for Marcus Wellons is remaining a secret; making Wellons the new face of the argument over how to carry out Georgia’s death penalty.

“It’s an experimentation process that’s going on here. And they’re doing it in secret,” said Mike Mears, a lawyer, former mayor of Decatur, and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor who has opposed the death penalty his entire legal career.

A new state law allows the state to keep secret who made the drug that would put Wellons to death. “I get drugs to treat an animal, and they have to tell me more than the state of Georgia is telling us about how they’re going to kill Marcus Wellons,” Mears said.

Marcus Wellons is due to die today, on the gurney in Jackson — unless his attorneys successfully challenge the secret source of the chemicals that would kill him. The full article and video can be found at 11Alive. For more information on Professor Mears, view his faculty profile.

Professor Rapping Speaks on Unequal Representation for the Poor

A recent article from The Guardian calls on Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan Rapping to discuss unequal representation for the nation’s poor. In the article by Sadhbh Walshe, the issue of wealth and its connection with acquittals, not-guilty verdicts, and reduced sentences were discussed. Professor Rapping insists that, “Money determines who sits in jail pre-trial. It determines who takes a plea deal, it determines who gets to have a trial and it can influence the outcome of a trial. This is not how our legal system is supposed to work.”

Walshe goes on to say: Public defenders today are dealing with caseloads that far exceed the recommended federal maximums established in 1973, and they’re cutting back on case spending because of it. “No matter how zealous, talented or passionate an attorney is,” says Rapping, “they cannot perform at their best when they are overworked and under-resourced.” Pit that lawyer against a team of high-powered attorneys with their accompanying “expert” witnesses, investigators, scientific tests, gloves and all, and someone who relies upon the Sixth Amendment doesn’t stand a chance.

Read the full article at The Guardian. An in-depth profile of Professor Rapping can be found on the law school’s faculty page.


AJMLS Alumna Wins Unpaid Overtime Case, Featured in Daily Report

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Amanda Farahany was featured in the Daily Report for the recent verdict handed down by an Atlanta judge  who awarded more than $173,000 to Farahany and Severin Roberts who won a $6,097 verdict for their client in an unpaid overtime case.

In an order awarding Atlanta law firm Barrett & Farahany $173,300 in legal fees and expenses, U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. said that even though plaintiff Kelly Cain may have succeeded “in only a limited way,” she still prevailed on her only claim against her former employer, Almeco USA Inc., and persuaded the jury that the company’s violation of federal Fair Labor Standards Act was willful.

The jury’s finding that Lawrenceville-based Almeco Inc. willfully failed over the course of two years to pay overtime to Cain led Thrash to double the damages to $13,814 (including interest and other costs).

Attorneys Farahany and Roberts, who served as cocounsel for Cain, said the case —over claims that her bosses required her to work unpaid overtime —should never have gone to trial.

Farahany said, “Once you go to trial, it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. I think Judge Thrash recognized that and told the company exactly what they should do in a situation when you’ve got $25,000 in overtime in a case. … The judge realized this was a case that shouldn’t have been tried.”

Congratulations to Amanda Farahany and Roberts for their win and feature in the Daily Report. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School looks forward to many more accomplishments for Barrett & Farahany.

AJMLS Student Selected for Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School student, Spencer Fredericks along with 15 first- and second-year law students have been chosen to join the highly selective Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program class of 2014.

The clerks will assist public defender offices in the Southeast that partner with Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit organization founded by AJMLS Professor Jon Rapping that works tirelessly to mobilize and train public defenders to provide the highest quality representation to people unable to afford an attorney.

As clerks, the students will be empowered to develop disciplined skill sets that will prove critical as they transition from students to the court room.

“These 16 students represent a small fraction of the young legal talent who are committed to improving the standards of the criminal justice system and to ensuring fair representation for all,” says Professor Rapping. “The experience they will receive as law clerks will serve as a cornerstone to their profession. We are proud of these outstanding students for their accomplishments and for their dedication to serving our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.”

This year’s Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program class includes:
Spencer Fredericks, first-year, Atlanta John Marshall Law School
Amanda Belier, second-year, University of Cincinnati College of Law
Rachel Berman, second-year, Emory University School of Law
David Clark, second-year, George Mason University School of Law
Melissa DiRado, second-year, Syracuse University College of Law
Nicole Duncan, first-year, Loyola Law School
Caroline Heicklen, second-year, Georgetown University Law Center
Charles Henniger, first-year, Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law
Aaron Horth, second-year, Boston University School of Law
Amanda Koons, second-year, Northwestern School of Law
Tamara Lee, second-year, Charleston School of Law
Alicia Luncheon, first-year, University of Georgia Law School
Jessica Mann, second-year, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law
Logan Noblin, second-year, UCLA School of Law
Veronica O’Grady, second-year, University of Georgia Law School
Nathan Stuckey, second-year, University of California, Berkley

Four of the 16 law students chosen for the Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program are from Georgia law schools.

The Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program is a partnership between Gideon’s Promise, participating law schools and public defender offices in the Southeast. The program recruits talented students who are specifically interested in leading proactive solutions that improve the struggling indigent defense system; have completed at least one year of law school; and display the characteristics and passion required to become a promising public defender.

Last year, Professor Rapping and Gideon’s Promise were featured in the HBO documentary, “Gideon’s Army,” which follows three young public defenders, trained by Professor Rapping and Gideon’s Promise, in their sometimes breaking quest for equal justice in indigent defense. The organization has now trained more than 250 public defenders, who each see an average caseload of 300 per year.

Gideon’s Promise currently partners with more than 32 public defenders offices across 13 states including: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Congratulations again to Spencer Fredericks on being selected for the Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program.

AJMLS Alumnus Represents Plaintiff for Botched IV Test Injury

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and Alumni Board member, Lawrence Schlachter, M.D., J.D., has garnered headline recognition in the Daily Report for a major trial win for a medical malpractice plaintiff.  According to the Daily Report, a Fulton County jury awarded more than $4.4 million to a man claiming permanent injuries when a bit of radioactive tracer solution leaked into his arm during a cardiology test at Piedmont Newnan Hospital. Along with Schlachter, the plaintiff was also represented by Lloyd Bell and Darren Summerville.

For more information on the article, “Jurors Hold Plaintiff’s Hand, Then Put $4.4M Into It” can be found on the Daily Report’s website.

Footnote from AJMLS Professor Used in Dissent of Justice Benham

The Georgia Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in the Warren Lee Hill case. Hill was sentenced to death following the 1990 murder of a fellow inmate in the Lee County Correctional Institute, in which Hill beat the victim with a board embedded with nails.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Michael Mears was quoted in a footnote by Justice Robert Benham who dissented along with Justice Carol Hunstein. The footnote used from Professor Mears is based upon a Daily Report article in which Mears discussed the unconstitutionality of the State Secret Act which protects the identity of the executioners and the names of the drug manufacturer.

Their dissent cited a botched execution last month in Oklahoma, Benham saying Georgia’s approach to executions could lead to such “macabre results.” Benham wrote that the secrecy law has the effect of creating “star chamber-like proceedings.”

The footnote reads:
“See also Land, Greg, Oklahoma’s Botched Execution is a Wake-Up Call in Georgia, Says
Law Professor, Daily Report (May 1, 2014), quoting Professor Michael Mears as follows:
“The defense bar is …about protecting the Constitution. How do we know what [drugs] they’re using and not telling us about?”

The full article can be found online through the Daily Report.

AJMLS Professor Accepts the Eleventh Annual Ridenhour Prize for Gideon’s Army

Gideon’s Army, an HBO documentary about the non-profit organization of AJMLS professor Jon Rapping, recently received the 2014 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. The film follows three young public defenders as they struggle with staggering caseloads, long hours, low pay, and trying to balance their commitment to public service with a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point.

The annual Ridenhour Prizes recognize acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice or illuminate a more just vision of society. In reflecting upon its decision, the awards committee said, “We are thrilled to have selected Gideon’s Army which celebrates the legion of idealistic young public defenders who are fighting for equal justice for the disenfranchised within our broken and biased legal system, while struggling to stay one step ahead of poverty themselves.”

Professor Rapping accepted the award with Gideon’s Army director and producer, Dawn Porter. An excerpt from his speech reads:

Now, I started my career as a public defender here in D.C. which is one of the few really well functioning public defender offices in the country. I wasn’t aware at that time about this crisis, and then I went south and worked in Georgia and Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. And I saw criminal justice systems that just processed human beings, that literally accepted an embarrassingly low standard of justice for poor people. And I met these young inspired public defenders who would go into this work for the right reasons and very quickly have the passion beaten out of them. And soon they would either quit or they would become resigned to the status quo.

And so that led to my wife and I starting Gideon’s Promise, an organization that recruits, mentors, trains and support public defenders in an effort to build a community of change agents to go into courtrooms and broken systems and remind them of our American ideals.

Well, we started in 2007 with 16 lawyers and two offices. We will this summer have roughly 300 public defenders from 15 states. [applause] As we were building this, we realized we needed someone to share this story with the country, with the world. And so we started looking for a filmmaker, a storyteller, and we met Dawn Porter. Dawn was a new filmmaker. We invited her to come down and meet our lawyers. We had no idea at the time how brilliant Dawn is. We had no idea at the time how committed she would become to this cause and we certainly had no idea the impact that her work would have.

And what Dawn has done with “Gideon’s Promise” is she has reminded us that we can’t have equal justice without public defenders. She’s reminded us that public defenders are heroes. She shined a light on the public defenders who do this work and the people that they represent, which is a critical first step to raising our national consciousness and addressing this issue.

The full video of Professor Rapping’s acceptance speech is located below.

John Marshall Law Journal Climbs Washington & Lee Law Review Rankings

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to recognize the John Marshall Law Journal’s ascent in the Washington & Lee Law Review Rankings. Since its inception in 2008, the law journal has climbed nearly 200 spots on Washington & Lee’s cumulative score index for student-edited U.S. law journals and reviews. The law school is proud to see how far the law journal has  come in such a short time. It is also impressive to see that the John Marshall Law Journal outranks some well-recognized journals. For more information about the John Marshall Law Journal and other student organization, click here.

AJMLS Students Participate in Law Day at the Georgia Bar

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students recently participated in Law Day. Law Day is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law, to recognize the role of the courts in our democracy, the importance of jury service and maintaining the integrity of the courts.  The official Law Day designated by Congress in 1961 is May 1st.

Georgia holds Law Day during the month of May at different locations around the state like churches, the Georgia Bar, community centers, and high schools. This year’s Law Day event was held at the Georgia Bar. The theme set by the American Bar Association for this year was ‘American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters’ due to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The event was held in conjunction with Atlanta Public Schools (APS), several Georgia Bar Associations and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.  The morning session was focused on educating APS high school students and registering them students to vote.  AJMLS students participated in registering students and providing voter simulations. The evening session was a CLE for attorneys open to the public.

Panel discussions were held with leaders from the League of Women Voters, Counsel of the GA Democratic Party, Georgia Republican Party, Georgia State Law Professors, The Carter Center, Amnesty International, UGA Law Professors, the Human Rights Network, SVP of Legal at CNN, the Georgia Secretary of State, Civil Rights Activists, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients and a US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

AJMLS 1L Students Shine at the Intraschool Moot Court Competition

First-year students at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently competed in the law school’s Intraschool Moot Court Competition. With the guidance of professors, alumni and the Moot Court team, these 1L’s proved that they possess the skill and talent needed to excel in their legal education and careers. Congratulations to the winners of the Intraschool Moot Court Competition:

*Best Appellant Oralist: Amber Reed
*Runner-Up: Emily Napier


*Best Appellee Oralist: Shawnta Williams
*Runner-Up: Ingrid Saffrey

*Best Appellant Brief: Stephanie Housefield
*Best Appellee Brief: Ingrid Saffrey

The competition was the culmination of a great deal of hard work from many divisions within the law school. Professors Cato, Dalton, Doneff, Gelin, Jaffe, Jeffries, and Luna worked tirelessly to prepare their classes for the competition. Many members of the Moot Court helped bench students in their Legal Writing classes.

Professors Tandy and Van Detta, along with alumni coaches Michael Bauer, Ben Stidham, and Thomas Lyman, devoted their entire Saturday to judging the advocates who made it to the Semi-Final Round. Stefanie Hilliard, Nick Kitchens, Ella O’Kelley, Kim Stahl, Drew Turner, Tracy Udunka, Mathis Wilkens, and Daniel Ybanez helped judge and coordinate the various levels of the competition.

Student/alumni Moot Court brief graders spent countless hours grading bench briefs. The brief scoring team consisted of alumni Ben Stidham (Chair), alumni coach Michael Bauer, Irena Chernova, Homer Jordan, and Rodrigo Silvo.

The advocates did such an outstanding job that Judge Ray from the Georgia Court of Appeals told the courtroom full of AJMLS students that he now understood how the John Marshall Moot Court team was able to beat his law school (UGA) at Georgia Intrastate.

Under the direction of the faculty advisor and alumni coaches Michael Bauer and Thomas Lyman, the Moot Court program has made tremendous strides this year. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is eager to see how this next generation of advocates will further advance the AJMLS Moot Court program.

National Institute for Trial Advocacy Invites AJMLS Professor to Teach Trial Advocacy Basics

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) is the nation’s leading provider of legal advocacy skills training. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado, NITA pioneered the legal skills learning-by-doing methodology over 40 years ago and has since remained the ultimate standard in continuing legal education.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Suparna Malempati was recently invited to join the Rocky Mountain team to teach new lawyers the basics of trial advocacy.  She spent fours days training the participants on closing arguments, direct examination, and cross examination skills. You can read more about her experience on the Advocacy Teaching Blog.

NITA’s team of practicing lawyers, professors and judges from around the nation dedicates its efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve the adversarial justice system. NITA’s mission is to:

  • Promote justice through effective and ethical advocacy;
  • Train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in pursuit of justice; and
  • Develop and teach trial advocacy skills to support and promote the effective and fair administration of justice.

For more information about NITA, please visit the website at www.nita.org. View a full list of Professor Malempati’s published articles and media appearances on her faculty profile.

Daily Report Interviews Professor Mears on Botched Oklahoma Execution

“The botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma on Tuesday should serve as a wake-up call to Georgia officials scrambling to find ways to put inmates to death without trampling constitutional guarantees and basic human decency,” said Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Michael Mears, in a recent interview with the Daily Report.

Professor Mears, who is also the founding director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, spoke candidly with the Daily Report about the recent execution.

“This is certainly not the first botched lethal injection execution, and if the states continue to allow prison guards to ‘play doctor’ we will have more of these outrageous execution botches,” said Mears. “It is one thing to kill a person. It is another thing to conduct experiments on them under the guise of carrying out an execution.”

The full interview can be found on the Daily Report’s website. For more information on the published works, media appearances and accomplishments of Professor Mears, visit his faculty profile.

AJMLS Street Law Program Completes its Second Year with a High-Energy Mock Trial

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia in partnership with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, hosted the 2nd Annual Street Law Mock Trial on April 23, 2014, at the United States Federal Courthouse.  John Marshall students and Assistant U.S. Attorneys met at Booker T. Washington High School bi-weekly to teach various legal topics to 10th and 11th grade students from Ms. Carrie Dean’s Business Law class as part of the Street Law program. The program culminated with an in-depth mock trial presentation.

The Honorable Timothy C. Batten, Sr., United States District Court Judge, presided over the mock trial. Students from the Atlanta high school argued the mock case of the State of Georgia v. Daniel Capulet. In the scenario, Capulet was indicted for murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault for the May 14, 2011 shooting of Philip Newton.  After great legal arguments from the students and robust jury deliberations, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and Judge Batten directed counsel to retry the case again next year.

The Street Law program teaches practical law to laypersons using interactive teaching methodologies.  It empowers youth to use their knowledge to solve problems, better their communities, and become active and knowledgeable participants in society.

John Marshall students and recent graduates worked the entire spring semester teaching practical legal courses and preparing high school students for the mock trial. The students involved include: Aklima Khondoker, Alexander Silpa, Allison Lawrence, Courtney Gilkinson, Ellakisha O’Kelley, Emily Napier, Erin King, Eugenia Wallace, Gina Smith, Jackie Tyo, Hannah Mitchell, Jason Ross, Jaye Cole, Jeremy Yakle, Mary Snyder, Michael Roth, Miguel Barboza Jr., Monique Milner, Oluwasegun Adefope, Rebecca Palmer, Sunnita Blount, Jasmine Rowan, and Marcus Dickerson.

Also, Street Law was such a success that Atlanta Public Schools featured the program on its website. For more information on Street Law at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, contact the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning at rturner@johnmarshall.edu or bortega@johnmarshall.edu.

AJMLS Announces Eleven Upcoming Tenure Appointments

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has granted tenure to eleven faculty members, effective August 1, 2014. Eight of the eleven appointments are AJMLS professors and three are professors at Savannah Law School (SLS), a branch of AJMLS.

Upcoming Tenured Professors at AJMLS

Associate Professor K. Lee Adams joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches civil procedure and constitutional law. Professor Adams earned her B.A. from Georgia State University and her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Associate Professor Kari Mercer Dalton joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2007 and teaches legal research, writing & analysis I & II; pretrial practice & procedure. Professor Dalton earned her B.A. from Boston College and earned her J.D. from the Loyola University School of Law.

Associate Professor Andrea Doneff joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches ADR & writing, mediation, civil procedure, legal writing, research and advocacy. Professor Doneff earned her B.A. from Emory University, her M.A. from Emory University and her J.D. from the Emory University School of Law.

Associate Professor Patrice Fulcher joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2007 and teaches criminal law; legal research, writing & analysis I, II & III; pretrial practice & procedure; trial advocacy and criminal procedure. Professor Fulcher earned her B.A. from Howard University and J.D. from the Emory University School of Law.

Associate Professor Jace C. Gatewood joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches business organizations and real property. Professor Gatewood earned his A.B. from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Associate Professor Elizabeth M. Jaffe joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2006 and teaches client interviewing & counseling, depositions, legal research, writing & analysis I & II, pretrial practice & procedure. Professor Jaffe earned her B.A. from Emory University and her J.D. from the Washington University School of Law.

Associate Professor Neva Browning Jeffries joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches Legal Drafting; Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II; Pretrial Practice & Procedure; Business Organizations. Professor Jeffries earned her A.B. from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Associate Professor Kelly Casey Mullally joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2009 and teaches Intellectual Property; Patent Law; Torts. Professor Mullally earned her B.S. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Upcoming Tenured Professors at SLS

Professor Elizabeth Megale joined the faculty at the Savannah Law School in 2012 and teaches advanced appellate advocacy, pretrial advocacy and transactional drafting, art of advocacy. Professor Megale earned her B.A. and J.D. from Mercer University.

Professor Marc Roark joined the faculty at Savannah Law School in 2012 and teaches property, law & literature and sales & secured transactions. Professor Roark earned his B.A. from Louisiana State University, his LL.M. from the Duke University School of Law and his J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans.

Professor Judd Sneirson joined the faculty at Savannah Law School in 2013 and teaches contracts, intellectual property and business organizations. Professor Sneirson earned his B.A. from Williams College and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Current Tenured Faculty

●Dean & Professor Richardson Lynn
●Associate Dean for Scholarship & Professor Jeffrey Van Detta
●Associate Professor Joanna Apolinsky
●Professor Anthony Baker
●Associate Professor Scott Boone
●Associate Professor Kathleen Burch
●Professor Robert D’Agostino
●Associate Professor Helen de Haven
●Associate Professor Liza Karsai
●Professor Michael Lynch
●Associate Professor Lance McMillian
●Associate Professor Jonathan Rapping
●Professor Caprice Roberts, SLS
●Associate Professor Lisa Taylor
●Associate Professor Lisa Tripp

Granting an appointment of tenure is a firm commitment that AJMLS makes to talented faculty. The school does this to recognize professors who have consistently contributed to its mission by demonstrating excellence throughout their careers at AJMLS.

The conferring of tenure upon these faculty members represents a significant milestone in their academic careers. Please join us in congratulating each of these amazing professors for their ongoing dedication to enriching the lives of the AJMLS and SLS student body.

You may follow the hashtags #AJMLS and #ProfDev, on Twitter, to congratulate these professors or join the conversation.

AJMLS Professor Chosen for Radio Interview with Legal Talk Network

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor and Director of the Honors Program in Criminal Justice, Jonathan Rapping was recently interviewed on Legal Talk Network’s radio program, Lawyer2Lawyer, to discuss his organization Gideon’s Promise. On this episode of Lawyer2Lawyer, hosts Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams interviewed Professor Rapping, founder of the Atlanta-based public defender training program Gideon’s Promise, and Dawn Porter, director and producer of the documentary Gideon’s Army. Together they discuss the daily rigors faced by public defenders in the south, their personal beliefs about unequal access to justice, and their ideas about how to better deliver on the promise of Gideon. The radio interview can be found on Legal Talk Network. More information on Professor Rapping can be found on his faculty profile.

Law Review Article by AJMLS Professor Cited in Forbes Magazine

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Beckett Cantley was cited in a recent article by Forbes Magazine discussing life insurance and 831(b) captive insurance companies. His extensive experience on the issue, in addition to his recent appearance as a panelist at the Spring Meeting of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association made Professor Cantley an excellent source of information on the subject.

The excerpt reads:

The panel featured Prof. Beckett Cantley of John Marshal Law School in Atlanta, who discussed the fact that the IRS is taking a hard look at 831(b) captives that have purchased life insurance, and seem to be following their exact same avenues of attack that finally took down abusive VEBAs, 412(i), 419A(f)(6), and other abusive plans that offered pre-tax life insurance. Namely, the IRS is now conducting various promoter audits to obtain the client lists of the insurance managers whose 831(b) captives are involved with life insurance, as a possible predicate to making the purchase of life insurance within a captive a “listed transaction”, i.e., a presumed tax shelter that carries onerous reporting requirements and possibly very significant penalties.

Professor Cantley also spoke at some length about the technical issues about why the IRS would be absolutely right in taking down 831(b) companies with significant amounts of life insurance, but instead of me paraphrasing him, it is probably better to just read his excellent article on the subject: Cantley, Beckett G., Repeat as Necessary: Historical IRS Policy Weapons to Combat Conduit Captive Insurance Company Deductible Purchases of Life Insurance (February 2013). U. C. Davis Business Law Journal, Vol. 13, 2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2315868

And Professor Cantley is nothing like the only voice in the wilderness on this issue: Various other prominent captive tax attorneys have indicated that having an 831(b) captive be structured to invest significant assets in a life insurance policy is probably a pretty bad idea, and off-the-record statements from IRS and Treasury officials (not to mention the ongoing promoter audits) show that this is an area of intense interest, if not concern.

Prior to teaching at John Marshall, Professor Cantley served as a law professor at both St.Thomas University School of Law (Miami, FL) and in the International Tax and Financial Services Program (LL.M.) at Thomas Jefferson School of Law (San Diego, CA).  He currently also teaches International Taxation at Northeastern University.  In addition to the courses he currently teaches at AJMLS and NEU, he has previously taught several other JD and LL.M. level courses, including: Tax I; Tax II; Partnership Taxation; and Business Entities.  Prior to entering academia, Professor Cantley’s private practice included serving as an Associate Attorney with Oliver Maner & Gray LLP in Savannah, GA.

To read the full article, visit the Forbes Magazine website. Professor Cantley’s full biography including published articles and media appearances can be found here.

AJMLS Announces Spring 2014 Commencement Speaker

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce Chief Judge Herbert E. Phipps as the keynote speaker at the school’s upcoming commencement. The commencement exercises will be held on May 17, 2014 @ 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center.

About Chief Judge Herbert E. Phipps

Judge Phipps is known for his intense commitment to justice and a keen understanding of ethics. It is this commitment to equality and service to others that has led to his illustrious career in public service.

Courtroom Accomplishments

Chief Judge Herbert Phipps has earned a long list of professional accomplishments. Most recent was his 2013 election as the 27th Presiding Chief Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Even before the election, Judge Phipps was no stranger to the Georgia Court of Appeals; as he got his start with the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1999 when Governor Roy Barnes appointed him as judge to the Court of Appeals. Prior to that appointment he’d served as judge with the Dougherty County Superior Court, the Dougherty Circuit Juvenile Court and also as part-time Magistrate and Associate Judge of the Dougherty County State Court.

Additional Recognition and Achievements

In addition to his achievements in the courtroom, Judge Phipps has also made historic strides outside of court. In March 2014 Judge Phipps was honored by the Georgia Legal History Foundation, who awarded him with the Nestor Award in recognition of his contribution to Georgia’s legal history.  He became the first African American judge to have his portrait unveiled and displayed on the 2nd floor of the Dougherty County Justice Center in 2012.

In 2007, Judge Phipps earned the distinction of being inducted into the Society of Benchers of Case Western Reserve School of Law. In 2006 The Georgia Bar Association recognized his dedication to the community by awarding him with the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service.

Judge Phipps has served on the boards of numerous organizations and boards in the past, including:

●        Board of Directors of SB&T Bank of Albany and Americus (Chairman)
●        The Albany Association for Retarded Citizens (President)
●        The Faith Fund Foundation (President)
●        The Criterion Club (President)
●        Lawyers Club of Atlanta (President)

Judge Phipps is a strong proponent of family. He believes that much of his success would not have been possible without the support of his wife Connie, as well as their children Herbert and India, son-in-law Will J. Epps and granddaughter Zoë Olivia Epps.

About the 2014 AJMLS Commencement

The commencement ceremony is scheduled to begin on Saturday May 17, 2014 at 1:30 pm. Tickets are not required for entry.  For more information regarding parking or other venue related topics, please visit www.atlantaciviccenter.com.

On behalf of AJMLS, we’d like to congratulate you on your momentous achievement. We’d also like to extend our best wishes to all of our 2014 graduates as you go on to change the world!

To join the AJMLS commencement conversation on Twitter just follow the hashtags #AJMLS and #LawGrad.

AJMLS Professor Featured Panelist in American Constitution Society SCOTUS Review of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Kathleen Burch is a featured panelist in the upcoming SCOTUS review of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby presented by the Georgia Lawyer Chapter, Georgia State University College of Law, Emory University School of Law and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Student Chapters of the American Constitution Society (ACS). The event, SCOTUS Review of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby: Does the Constitution Protect Corporate Religious Freedom? will be held on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at One Atlantic Center.

Please join the ACS Georgia Lawyer Chapter for a panel discussion on the Supreme Court’s consideration of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, and Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius, which address whether corporations may deny coverage to their employees for items such as contraceptives drugs to which they would otherwise be entitled under the Affordable Care Act based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners under both the First Amendment’s free exercise clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Topics to be discussed include religious freedom and discrimination, corporate personhood and federal health policy. For questions on the day of the event, please contact Douglas Park at 404-862-0582. To attend for free with no CLE credit, RSVP here. To purchase 1.0 hours of CLE credit for $5, RSVP here. A full list of panelists is listed below.

  • Kathleen Burch, Associate Professor of Law, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School
  • William P. Marshall, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law, former Deputy White House Counsel; Member, ACS Board of Directors
  • Frank J. Mulcahy, Executive Director, Georgia Catholic Conference
  • Anne Tucker, Assistant Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law



Professor Fulcher Gives Expert Opinion to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Patrice Fulcher was asked by Representative Elijah E. Cummings’ office, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to comment on the contempt proceedings against Lois Lerner. Cummings released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014.

In Professor Fulcher’s comment, she said:

released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/press-releases/twenty-five-independent-legal-experts-now-agree-that-issa-botched-contempt/#sthash.twEBtBUd.dpuf
released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/press-releases/twenty-five-independent-legal-experts-now-agree-that-issa-botched-contempt/#sthash.twEBtBUd.dpuf
released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/press-releases/twenty-five-independent-legal-experts-now-agree-that-issa-botched-contempt/#sthash.twEBtBUd.dpuf
released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/press-releases/twenty-five-independent-legal-experts-now-agree-that-issa-botched-contempt/#sthash.twEBtBUd.dpuf

“American citizens expect, and the Constitution demands, that U.S. Congressional Committees adhere to procedural constraints when conducting hearings. Yet the proper required measures designed to provide due process of law were not followed during the May 22nd House Oversight Committee Hearing concerning Ms. Lerner. In Quinn v. United States, the Supreme Court clearly outlined practical safeguards to be followed to lay the foundation for contempt of Congress proceedings once a witness invokes the Fifth Amendment. 349 U.S. 155 (1955). To establish criminal intent, the committee has to demand the witness answer and upon refusal, expressly overrule her claim of privilege. This procedure assures that an accused is not forced to ‘guess whether or not the committee has accepted [her] objection’, but is provided with a choice between compliance and prosecution. Id. It is undeniable that the record shows that the committee did not expressly overrule Ms. Lerner’s claim of privilege, but rather once Ms. Lerner invoked her 5th Amendment right, the Chairman subsequently excused her. The Chairman did not order her to answer or present her with the clear option to respond or suffer contempt charges. Therefore, launching a contempt prosecution against Ms. Lerner appears futile and superfluous due to the Committee’s disregard for long standing traditions of procedure.”

For the full story or to read the opinions of other legal experts, click here.

Jonathan Rapping Earns National Recognition with Inaugural Purpose Economy 100 Award

Nearly 80 percent of the 12 million people who move annually through America’s criminal justice system cannot afford a lawyer. As a result, many innocent defendants plead guilty simply because they cannot afford to take their case to trial, and the public defender system is so overwhelmed by crushing volume, that adequate and meaningful defense fails them as well. For Jonathan Rapping, the injustice in the U.S. justice system is simply unacceptable, and now everyone is taking note of his exploding and impactful non-profit organization, Gideon’s Promise.

Gideon’s Promise, based in Atlanta, yet armed with a national reputation, works tirelessly to inspire, mobilize and train legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. And work zealously to ensure that those accused of crimes, who are most vulnerable in our society, have the same access to criminal justice as everyone else.

“For the past seven years, we at Gideon’s Promise have worked tirelessly to ensure ‘equal justice for all’ is not just an empty promise, but a reality that is consistent with our Constitution and its founding ideals,” says Rapping. “Being honored with the Inaugural Purpose Economy 100 truly validates that our work to change the status quo is vital, and that our public defenders are making justice a reality every day.”

It is because of this ground-breaking work that Rapping was recently honored as one of the Inaugural Purpose Economy 100, an honor that he shares with Melinda Gates, Rick Warren, former Vice President Al Gore and Jonathan Trent among others. A complete list of winners can be found at www.PurposeEconomy.com.

“The Purpose 100 highlights and celebrates the work of those shifting the paradigm on what is possible for all of us through work that reignites purpose,” says Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative and innovator/creator of The Purpose Economy. “By founding Gideon’s Promise and training more than 250 public defenders over the past seven years, Jon more than exemplifies that calling. He is a pioneer working to bring equal justice back to our judicial system. I look forward to watching Jon and Gideon’s Promise continue strengthening the resources available to public defenders.”

Last year, Rapping and Gideon’s Promise were featured in the HBO documentary, “Gideon’s Army,” which follows three young public defenders, trained by Rapping and Gideon’s Promise, in their sometimes breaking quest for equal justice in indigent defense. The organization has now trained more than 250 public defenders, who each see an average caseload of 300 per year.

Rapping is a nationally renowned speaker and author – advocating for better standards in the criminal justice system by delivering powerful and varying keynotes at conferences and institutions across the country. His national outreach includes audiences at law schools, organizations committed to justice, bar associations and public defender offices and systems.

AJMLS Hosts Legal Education in the 21st Century Conference in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Savannah Law School in partnership with Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi, are hosting the Legal Education in the Twenty-first Century: an International Conference of Legal Educators on May 4-7, 2014 in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey.  With the globalization of the economic markets and outsourcing of legal work, the discussion of the future of legal education has not been confined to the United States, but has been a topic of discussion throughout law schools and the legal profession around the world.   Legal Education in the Twenty-first Century will bring together law faculty from around the globe to explore the best pedagogies and curricula for preparing lawyers to practice in both global and domestic legal markets.

Conference panels include: The State of Legal Education Across the Globe, The Future of the Practice of Law, The Role of the Judiciary in Admission to the Bar and Attorney Discipline, Bar Exams and Admission to Practice Standards, The Faculty: Tenure and Academic Freedom, Legal Education in the Digital Age, The Classroom as Apprenticeship, Reading Cases Globally, Integrating Doctrine and Writing, Experiential Learning, and Training the Global Lawyer.

Confirmed speakers include:  Justice Carol Hunstein, Georgia Supreme Court; Justice Christine Durham, Utah Supreme Court; Dean Emeritus James P. White; Sally Lockwood, Director, Georgia Office of Bar Admissions; James Moliterno, Jane Ching, Lucy Jewel, Denis Binder, Kathleen Burch, Jeffrey Van Detta, Bruce Luna, Jessica Rubin, Joan Blum, Elizabeth Megale, Rebecca Cummings, and Patrick Hugg.

For more information or to register for the conference, please contact Professor Kathleen Burch via e-mail at kburch@johnmarshall.edu or via phone at (404) 872-3593 ##Ext. 105.


AJMLS Moot Court Team Advances to Octo-finals in Elon Law National Competition

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Moot Court Team recently advanced to the octo-finals in the Elon Law National Moot Court Competition. Sixteen schools participated in the competition including: Charleston, Florida Coastal, George Mason, Howard University, New York Law School, Nova Southeastern, Regent University, South Texas, Southwestern, Texas Tech, UNC, University of Virginia, Wake Forest, Wayne State, and William and Mary.

The John Marshall student competitors were Nickolas Kitchens, Ellakisha O’Kelley, and Rodrigo Silva – all part-time students.  Their coach was Michael Bauer, and student coaches Stephanie Garner and Koji Noguchi. Professors Burch, D’Agostino, Dalton, Harrison, Lynch, McMillian, Rapping, and Taylor were also an integral part of the team’s success.

Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in our Moot Court Team advancing in the Elon Law National Moot Court Competition.


Governor Nathan Deal Names AJMLS Alumna Solicitor General of Muscogee County

Governor Nathan Deal recently named Suzanne Goddard, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, the new Solicitor General of Muscogee County. The vacancy was created by the appointment of the Hon. Benjamin Richardson as State Court judge of Muscogee County. Goddard’s appointment is effective upon swearing-in.  Goddard has worked in the Office of the Solicitor-General since 1997 — the same year she earned her law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia. Congratulations on behalf of the entire John Marshall community.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Announces New Dean

The Directors of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and the Savannah Law School are pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Malcolm L. Morris as Dean/CEO and Professor of Law, effective July 1, 2014.

Professor Morris has enjoyed a distinguished career including two terms as the Associate Dean and one as Interim Dean at Northern Illinois University College of Law. During his tenure there he was elected Secretary of the Faculty Senate and was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and the University Council, as well as the University Personnel Advisor. Professor Morris currently is Director, Graduate Estate Planning Programs, and Associate Director of Graduate Tax Law Programs at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Additionally, he has been active as an ABA accreditation site visitor (he was on the team that visited us in 1997), Board member and Treasurer of CLEO, Inc., LSAC trustee, and member of various AALS and ABA committees. During his time in Illinois he has chaired and participated on numerous Illinois State Bar Association committees and received a number of awards for those efforts including election as a Laureate in its Academy of Illinois Lawyers. He also has an extensive scholarship record that includes works in both law reviews and practitioner-oriented publications. Professor Morris is a graduate of Cornell University (B.S.), SUNY Buffalo (J.D.), and Northwestern University (LL.M.). Malcolm brings us enthusiasm, creativity, imagination, and a wealth of experience in legal education at a time when these qualities are much in need.

While his duties officially begin July 1, 2014, he will be on campus from time to time before then to get more acquainted with the law school.

Please join in welcoming Professor Malcolm L. Morris to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and the Savannah Law School. We will be planning several on-campus receptions in the upcoming months in Atlanta and Savannah for Malcolm to get to better know and exchange ideas with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the broader legal community.

AJMLS Moot Court Team Wins Georgia Intrastate

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Moot Team scores a historic win at the 2014 Georgia Intrastate Moot Court Competition. As their first victory at the competition, the win represents a milestone for the law school.

Every year all five law schools in the state of Georgia compete against each other at the Georgia Intrastate Moot Court Competition, where competitors are scored on their brief writing and oral advocacy skills. Until this year, the University of Georgia has enjoyed a comfortable eight-year winning streak at the competition.

This would all change in 2014 as the winning team, consisting of students Kimberly Stahl (Cartersville, GA), Daniel Ybanez (Port Orange, FL), Mathis Wilkens and Derek Gross, scored an upset. The AJMLS moot team defeated teams from the University of Georgia, Mercer University, Georgia State University and Emory University during the two-day event held at Emory University from March 21, 2014 to March 22, 2014.

Advancing to the final round of the competition were the moot teams from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and The University of Georgia. Kimberly Stahl and Mathis Wilkens represented the AJMLS Moot Team in the finals. Although this isn’t the first year that the AJMLS Moot Team has placed in a moot court competition, this year has marked several significant changes for Moot Court at John Marshall.

Professor Malempati who took over as the Director of Advocacy Programs in August of 2013 had this to say about the improvements that led to the school’s win, “Oral advocacy and legal writing are a focus of our curriculum at John Marshall. The faculty are committed to the practical training of our students.”

She goes on to say, “We have also added two incredibly dedicated alumni coaches: Michael Bauer and Thomas Lyman. We have always known that our students are incredibly talented. I am just so pleased to see that they are being recognized for all of their hard work.

Last, but certainly not least, we have had tremendous support this year from the faculty. Professors Baker, Boone, D’Agostino, De Haven, Doneff, Mears, and Van Detta tirelessly benched our competitors so that they were thoroughly prepared to walk away with the winning prize.”

Likewise, LoriBeth Westbrook, the current Chair of Moot Court also had this to add regarding the progression of the school’s moot court team, “Although we did not expect the changes we have made to the program to have had such a dramatic impact so soon, our success at Georgia Intrastate and Stetson demonstrates that those changes are having a positive impact. And I am confident that there will be even more success to share in the future.”


Professor D’Agostino Interviewed Regarding Bankruptcy Laws

In a recent article from CardHub, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Robert D’Agostino and other legal experts answered common questions individuals have regarding bankruptcy. CardHub offers an easily-accessible search engine and relevant articles for individuals to use to find a credit card that suits their personal and financial needs. However, due to the increase of bankruptcy filings and subsequent increase in societal reliance on credit cards, CardHub sought out legal experts to answer general questions about bankruptcy in an effort to educate its audience.

Professor D’Agostino was asked, “What part of the bankruptcy process do you think people understand least?” He replied, “The issue of what is and what is not dischargeable . This particularly true of tax liabilities and the IRS’s ability to impose a 100% penalty on bankrupt small business owners when the business has not paid its required taxes. BAPCA has clarified and broadened the law applicable to what assets of an individual do not become part of the bankruptcy estate. The ‘mini’ chapter 11 has made that process more accessible and less expensive for small business.

To view the entire article and read what other experts said about bankruptcy, click here.


The National Jurist Names AJMLS Among the Best Law Schools for Practical Training

In the March 2014 issue of The National Jurist, the magazine names the law schools with the most comprehensive experiential learning offerings. By analyzing the information each school provided to the American Bar Association in December, the magazine was able to assign a letter grade to each law school. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning earned a “B” for their efforts to provide students with a quality and in-depth variety of pro bono and externship opportunities. Congratulations to Director Renata Turner and Assistant Director Bridgett Ortega for all their hard work and dedication to improving the student experience at the law school. To read the full article, click here.

AJMLS Student Placed Third in ABA Business Law Section Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest

Please join the law school in congratulating AJMLS student and Law Journal member Sheronn Harris for being awarded third place in the ABA Business Law Section’s 2013-2014 Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest, for her comment, “What is Considered a Reasonable Investigation Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?”  Papers in this national competition were judged on research and analysis, choice of topic, writing style, originality, and contribution to the literature available on the topic.

Harris will receive a cash award and an all-expenses paid trip to by the Section to attend the ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting and receive the award. Her paper will also be considered by the section for possible publication in a future edition of The Business Lawyer. Details about the competition can be found here.


Register Now for the Next LL.M. in Employment Law Virtual Open House, March 18

As the online LL.M.in Employment Law Program prepares for its next cohort, LL.M. Director, Lisa Kaplan invites prospective students to join her for a virtual open house. During the open house,  students will learn more about the LL.M. in Employment Law Program and also have the opportunity to have any questions answered live during the event. The event will be held on March 18, 2014 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. To register for the LL.M. in Employment Law Virtual Open House, click here. For additional information, please contact Lisa Kaplan at lkaplan@johnmarshall.edu or call (404) 872-3593 ##Ext. 131.

AJMLS Students Awarded Best Draft at Regional Transactional LawMeet

On Friday, a team of two students – Bentley Adams and Irena Chernova – competed at the Regional Transactional LawMeet.  Prior to Friday’s in-person competition, all teams were assigned a side to represent in a transaction – buyer or seller.  Each team then completed two drafting assignments consisting of (1) drafting an indemnification agreement and (2) marking up a draft indemnification agreement prepared by the other side in the transaction.  The teams then competed on Friday at various regional competitions across the country.

The Regional meet this year was hosted by the University of Georgia and AJMLS participated with teams from 11 other schools – University of Georgia, Georgia State, Georgetown, Emory, Baylor, University of Mississippi, University of Tennessee, Florida International, Nova Southeastern, Washington & Lee, and Northern Kentucky.

The AJMLS team did a wonderful job.  The team was awarded BEST DRAFT on the seller’s side and came in third place for the negotiation piece on the seller’s side. Special thanks goes to Ben Stidham and Amy Zapatka, the AJMLS alumnae who competed in last year’s National LawMeet.  They generously donated their time and expertise to consult with the students on this year’s problem and Ben traveled to Athens with the group on Friday.  The law school is very fortunate to have such dedicated alumnae who continue to support the school and the students. Congratulations again Bentley and Irena!

For the full press release from LawMeets, click here.

AJMLS Professor Moderates Panel Discussion at Psychology and Lawyering Conference

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Professor Suparna Malempati recently moderated a panel titled The Psychology of Client Relations at a conference held at the University of Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law.  The conference, Psychology and Lawyering: Coalescing the Field,  brought together leading academics and practitioners from both law and psychology to discuss how insights drawn from multiple fields of  psychology can improve specific lawyering practices.  The conference was an effort to coalesce academics and practitioners from various fields who together are increasingly recognizing the broad relevance of psychology to lawyering.

Mock Trial Team Places Third in Southern Illinois University Invitational Mock Trial Competition

The Mock Trial Team at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently participated in the Southern Illinois University Invitational Mock Trial Competition on February 7-8, 2014. The law school placed third overall and received awards for Best Examination (Daniel Ybanez) and Best Advocate (Emily Everest).  The team worked with Associate Professor and Director of Advocacy Programs Suparna Malempati to prepare for the competition. Team members included: Catherine DeRoth, Emily Everest, Jason Mitchell, Marsha Terry, Mathis Wilkens, and Daniel Ybanez.

GBI Director Vernon Keenan Addresses AJMLS Advanced Evidence Class

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan recently addressed the law school’s Advanced Evidence Class as a result of an invitation from Associate Professor Michael Mears.  He discussed the operation of the GBI and gave the class a detailed description of the work the GBI Crime Laboratory does for law enforcement throughout the state.  He then made himself available to the students for an extended question and answer session.  The students were treated to an up close and personal look at the operation of the GBI as part of their continuing study of scientific evidence in criminal cases. His contribution to the student’s study of scientific evidence was invaluable and the entire class has been invited by Director Keenan to tour the GBI Crime Laboratory next month.

In 2011 Governor Nathan Deal re-appointed Vernon Keenan as Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. As GBI Director, Vernon Keenan is the leader of a state criminal Investigative agency with over 820 positions including forensic scientists and special agents.  The GBI is comprised of three divisions:  the State Crime Laboratory, the Georgia Crime Information Center, and the Investigative Division.

Professor Rapping Receives the INSPIRE Award from Cardozo School of Law

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan Rapping was recently awarded the INSPIRE Award from Cardozo School of Law in New York City. The award was given to Professor Rapping, President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, because of his work with an organization that inspires, mobilizes and trains legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. The awards ceremony and reception is a part of the law school’s Inspire: Awards and Public Service Networking Event which is held at the end of the school’s Public Service Week. For more information on Cardozo School of Law’s awards ceremony, click here. Congratulations to Professor Rapping for being recognized for the work his organization does in the legal community.

AJLMS Alumni Sworn into U.S. Supreme Court

On Monday, December 2, 2013, 7 AJMLS alumni and one professor were sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court.  The alumni that were sworn in include:  Alex Brown, Christopher Grubbs, Lisa Skinner, Alicia Mullice, Cameil Reddick, Lisa Guerra, Mark Zukowski, and Professor Renata Turner.

On December 1, 2013 an evening reception was held for the participants and their families at the esteemed Willard Hotel.

The trip to Washington D.C. to be sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court is an annual event that Dean Lynn takes with up to 12 alumni.  If you would like more information on how to be a part of this amazing experience, please email Ginger Arnold at varnold@johnmarshall.edu.





AJMLS Pro Bono and Experiential Learning Department to Present at Sturm College of Law in Denver

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Pro Bono and Experiential Learning Department have been selected to present at the upcoming Externships 7: Scaling New Heights – Field Placements and the Reform of Legal Education Conference at the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver on March 2, 2014.

Director and Professor, Renata Turner and Assistant Director, Bridgett Ortega will present a workshop entitled “Thinking and Working Inside and Outside the Box: Building Community Connections through the Hybrid Externship Clinic.” The Externship 7 Planning Committee received an extraordinary range of excellent proposals, and were very excited about Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s contribution.

For more information on our award-winning department, click here.

AJMLS Alumna to Head Law Office in Lodz, Poland

The Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, founded by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School adjunct professor Joseph Rosen, recently opened an office in Lodz, Poland. The branch will be managed by recent John Marshall alumna and lawyer, Alina Sokol. Sokol graduated from the law school in May 2013 with an LL.M. in American Legal Studies. In her role, Sokol and the office will assist Polish citizens and businesses with issues surrounding U.S. immigration. Congratulations to Sokol on this accomplishment and to Professor Rosen on expanding his practice.

For more information on the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, click here. A link to the Polish office can be found here.



AJMLS Staff Member Elected President of the Board of Directors of the National Juvenile Defender Center

On December 12, 2013, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Assistant Director of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning, Bridgett Ortega, was elected President of the Board of Directors for the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) in Washington, D.C. NJDC, recipient of the coveted MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions, is the only organization in the United States devoted solely to improving access to counsel and the quality of representation for children in the justice system. The Center works with individual front-line juvenile defenders and offices, and a national network of regional defender centers, providing them with the tools, support, and skills needed to improve juvenile defense policy and practice. Ms. Ortega’s experience and dedication to juvenile justice makes her uniquely qualified and ready to serve as NJDC’s new president.  Also, on December 20, 2013 Ortega will also receive the NAACP “Freedom Fighter” award for her work in social and juvenile justice. On behalf of the law school, congratulations for your outstanding accomplishments, hard work and dedication the practice of law and the juvenile justice system.

AJMLS to Feature Prominently at Major Upcoming Legal Seminar

Distinguished Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumni, faculty and students will feature prominently in Carlson on Evidence, an Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia sponsored seminar to be held December 19, 2013 at Georgia State Bar Headquarters, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The seminar will focus on a practical application of Georgia’s new evidence code.

“We have relied heavily on John Marshall graduates in the past and have been impressed with their dedication to our program,” said Fuller E. Callaway Chair of Law Emeritus, University of Georgia School of Law, Ron Carlson, co-chair of the program.

Carlson on Evidence will feature John Marshall alumni the Honorable James G. Bodiford of Cobb County Superior Court and Todd H. Ashley, Deputy Director of Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia. In addition, John Marshall adjunct professors Rebecca Crumrine, John Melvin and Mike Carlson will also present. Rachel Morelli, John Marshall 3L, has assisted in the preparation of the program materials and coordinating the various experts who are involved in the seminar.

“I appreciate very much the opportunity to be associated with this program and the support for John Marshall that both Ron and Mike Carlson are willing to provide,” says Morelli.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kevin Cieply adds, “This looks to be a tremendous program that will serve to educate members of the Georgia Bar well.”

The Carlson on Evidence seminar will also serve as the “roll-out” for the Second Edition of Carlson on Evidence, a work that is focused on comparing the federal evidence rules to Georgia’s evidence rule. Morelli assisted in researching and editing various portions of the new edition. For more information on the seminar, click here.

Mass Swearing In Ceremony on November 13, 2013

The Alumni Office held a mass swearing in ceremony for the July 2013 bar exam passers and other AJMLS alumni on November 13, 2013. The Alumni were sworn into the Court of Appeals, Supreme Court of Georgia, and Fulton County Superior Court and were honored to be sworn in by Justice Carol Hunstein of the Supreme Court, Judge G. Alan Blackburn of the Court of Appeals, and Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court.  There was a reception for friends and family held after the ceremony.  Here are the pictures from the event that can be downloaded for personal use. If you have any questions about the event, please contact the Alumni Office.

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AJMLS Student Wins First Place at Keenan’s Kids Foundation 12th Annual Law Student Closing Argument Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to announce second-year law student Ella O’Kelley recently won first place at the Keenan’s Kids Foundation’s12th annual Law Student Closing Argument Competition.The competition was established in 1997 to show students the importance of children’s rights and to encourage them into this most needed area of the law. The event also stands as an opportunity for students to gain experience in a courtroom in front of a jury.

“Each and every one of the students who competed in this event did an outstanding job,” said Foundation founder Don C. Keenan. “Our final scores were very close and I am so impressed with the dedication and preparation the students took before giving their arguments. We saw some excellent feedback from the judges and I am confident this has made a lasting impression with all the participants.” The Keenan Law Firm specializes in catastrophic child injury and death cases.  The Keenan’s Kids Foundation, started by the firm in 1993 to raise awareness on child safety, sponsors the competition to heighten the awareness of damage consideration to injured and maimed children.

A full list this year’s winners are:

– First place: Ella O’Kelley; Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (2L)

Second Place: Mary Hashemi; Savannah Law School (2L)

– Third Place: Ramika Gourdine; Georgia State University School of Law (3L)

– Fourth Place: Utrophia Robinson; University of Georgia Law School (3L)

The law school is appreciative of the continuous hard work our students dedicate to the study of law and improving the community. At Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, we are passionate about providing a high-quality legal education to students from all backgrounds. We offer a regular Juris Doctor Program, an Honors J.D. in Criminal Justice Program and an accelerated J.D. Program which allows students to complete law school in 2 and one-half years. For the full press release provided by The Keenan Kids Foundation, click here. To contact an admissions professional, call 404-872-3593 ##Ext. 261261 or email admissions@johnmarshall.edu.

AJMLS Students Compete in ABA Regional Negotiation Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students Tyler Carey, Jeff Sayer, Amon Kirk, and Matt Messerli  recently represented the law school in the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition hosted by Emory University.  The competition consisted of 20 teams from across the southeast, each team made up of two students. The teams competed in two rounds on Saturday, negotiating two different contracts.  Despite a hard fought battle, neither of the two teams advanced to the finals on Sunday.  However, each team represented AJMLS well.

Three of the four team members are 1Ls and the fourth is a 2L evening student.  John Marshall is very proud of these students for showing such initiative by participating in a competition this early in their law school careers. The team worked hard preparing for the competition and learned a great deal in the process.  The law school hopes they will want to compete again next year and put all the valuable insight they gained this year to work.

AJMLS would also like to thank our dedicated alumni coaches – Thomas (Torrey) Rainey (AJMLS 2012) and Amy Zapatka (AJMLS 2013) – who took the helm for this competition.  Having alumni who have competed in these competitions and who are not only willing to help, but are enthusiastic about coming back to AJMLS to share their wisdom and experience with the next generation of competitors is invaluable for the school and for the students.

AJMLS Student to Speak at TedxEmory Fall Speaker Series

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School student Hussainatu Blake and her twin sister Hassanatu Blake have been chosen to be the TedxEmory Fall 2013 speakers. Winners of the White House Champions of Change Award, the Blake sisters are co-founders of Focal Point Global, a non-profit whose mission is to empower underserved youth in Namibia and Cameroon using education and technology to address social issues. Their TED Talk will take place at Emory University on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 5 p.m.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting “ideas worth spreading.”  TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani,Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Their TEDx series offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world. Congratulations to Hussainatu and her sister on their accomplishments.

AJMLS Professor’s Non-Profit Organization Receives $1 Million Grant from Department of Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced a total of $6.7 million in grants to state and local criminal and civil legal services organizations across the country that provide legal defense services for the poor.  The non-profit organization of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jon Rapping was one of the organizations chosen to receive a grant.

Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit organization that partners with public defender offices to build a community of attorneys committed to indigent defense reform,was awarded $1 million.  The funds will provide 25 new attorneys, including criminal defense lawyers working on tribal lands; establish training and leadership development for public defender trainers and supervisors and a semi-annual leadership summit for chief defenders; and create an advisory council to test measures and indicators showing the outcomes of providing effective counsel for all individuals.

These grants from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) are part of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to improve indigent defense, which is often underfunded and understaffed, and to support training, mentoring, technical assistance, leadership development and research to enhance the effectiveness of adult, juvenile and tribal indigent defense practices.

Professor Rapping feels that the grant is another indicator of the type of education students can receive by enrolling in the law school’s J.D. Honors Program in Criminal Justice. He said, “through the Honors Program in Criminal Justice, our students are getting the kind of preparation for careers in criminal justice that the Department of Justice recognizes is critical.  Three of our Honors Program faculty (Professors Rapping, Fulcher, and Saviello) are also core members of this organization that the Department of Justice is investing in as a real solution to the criminal justice crisis we face.”

For more information on the other organizations chosen to receive grants, click here.


Professor Rapping Gives Keynote Address at University of Iowa Law School

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Jon Rapping was recently the keynote speaker at the University of Iowa Law School’s “Fifty Years of Gideon” symposium. Professor Rapping was chosen based to his work with Gideon’s Promise, his nonprofit organization that works to inspire, mobilize and train legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. Gideon’s Promise was later featured in an HBO documentary titled Gideon’s Army which aired July 1, 2013. The symposium commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision granting all indigent defendants the right to counsel, Gideon v. Wainwright. Following Professor Rapping’s keynote address, a renowned group of panelists discussed the history of Gideon, the current state of indigent defense, and future developments for the right to counsel. For more on Professor Rapping’s work with Gideon’s Promise, click here. To learn more about the University of Iowa Law School symposium, click here.


AJMLS Moot Court Team Finishes Third in Stetson National Pre-Trial Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Moot Court/Mock Trial team advanced into the semi-final round of the Stetson National Pre-Trial Competition and finished third behind LSU and Texas Tech, and ahead of Baylor. This competition involved a pre-trial civil issue and requires both appellate and trial advocacy skills.  It includes written briefs, oral arguments, direct & cross examinations of witnesses, and a closing argument. AJMLS also received the award for Best Defendant’s Memorandum of Law.  This is the second year in a row that AJMLS has won a best brief award at this competition.  That is certainly a compliment to our writing professors.

The following students are on the team: LoriBeth Westbrook (4L part-time); Jason McClendon (4L part-time); Michelle Sandler (3L); and Nickolas Kitchens (2L).   They have been coached by our alumnus, Thomas Lyman, who also dedicated many hours to their preparation. The schools entered in the competition were Baylor, Chapman, Charleston, Chicago-Kent, Fordham, Golden Gate, LSU, Mississippi College, Northern Kentucky, Pace, Regent, Texas Tech, UDC, UMKC, and William & Mary.

The pairings of teams for the first two rounds was random.  Our first round on Friday morning was against Northern Kentucky and we were assigned to be plaintiffs.  The second round on Friday afternoon was against Regent.  Our defense team was up.  We were unfortunately assigned to a small seminar room, instead of a courtroom, and so, the technical aspects of presentation were challenging.  The third round pairing of teams was power matched, meaning the pairings were based upon ranking of the teams. We were paired against Chicago-Kent and our defense team was up again. In the fourth round we competed against LSU.

These students and their coaches have worked tirelessly for the past several weeks and performed outstandingly at the competition.  Congratulations on behalf of the law school.


Mass Swearing In Ceremony on November 13, 2013 for July 2013 Bar Exam Passers

The Alumni Office will hold a mass swearing in ceremony for the July 2013 bar exam passers and any other AJMLS alumni who would like to be sworn into the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court of Georgia.  We will be honored by Justice Carol Hunstein of the Supreme Court and Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court.  There will also be a representative from the Court of Appeals.

The ceremony will be held at 5:00 p.m. on November 13, 2013 at the G. Alan Blackburn Conference Center.  After the ceremony there will be a reception with light hors d’oeuvres.  Please plan to arrive at 4:00 p.m. to arrange the necessary paperwork.

In order to be sworn in to any or all of the courts, you must have ALL checks and paperwork into the Alumni Office no later than Tuesday, October 29, 2013.

Superior Court – For admission to the Superior Court, the Alumni Office will need the Original Certificate you receive from Bar Admissions.

Georgia Supreme Court – For the attorney admission form for the Supreme Court, please go to:  http://www.gasupreme.us/admissions/ and complete the application.  Very important – AJMLS will provide the sponsoring attorneys so please leave that portion blank.  The cost to be sworn into the GA Supreme Court is $30 and must be paid through the website.  Please attach a copy of your PayPal receipt with your application.

Court of Appeals – For the attorney admission form for the Court of Appeals, please go to:  http://www.gaappeals.us/admission.php.  The cost to be sworn into the Court of Appeals is $30 and checks are to be made payable to the Clerk of the Court of Appeals.  Please send in your check and application to the Alumni Office.

Parking will be available in the AJMLS parking deck and other local decks.

For more information, please contact the Alumni Office at (404)872-3593 ##Ext. 287.

Professor Rapping Named the 2013 Public Interest Scholar in Residence at Touro Law School

Professor Jon Rapping was recently selected as the 2013 Public Interest Scholar in Residence at Touro Law School. Through the Distinguished Public Interest Lawyer in Residence Program, Touro Law Center recognizes attorneys who have made significant contributions to society by representation of individuals or groups historically denied access to justice. Honorees visit the Law Center to meet with students, guest teach classes and deliver a public lecture. The program attracts distinguished visitors who are active in the field of public interest who inspire and teach members of the Touro Law community. On behalf of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, congratulations Professor Rapping on another outstanding accomplishment. For the full story, click here.

AJMLS Founds New Student Organization – Veteran Law Students Association

Students at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently founded the Veteran Law Students Association to support all veterans regardless of their branch of service, time of service, or any other distinguishing characteristic. VLSA was also created to promote continued service by the members of its organization.

Membership is neither based on past military service nor lack thereof.  Students  pursuing a Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M) or any other degree programs authorized by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School qualify for membership in the VLSA.

President of VLSA and AJMLS student Domonique Jackson-Russell strongly encourages student, faculty and staff support of the newly founded organization. In a recent announcement to the law school, Jackson-Russell said, “We hope that you will consider joining and supporting the VLSA as we continue to serve, whether that be at the law school, legal community or general public.”

VLSA’s first meeting will be October 7, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 707. During the meeting members will discuss VLSA’s upcoming scholarship fundraiser event. Non-members are welcome to attend.

Visit VLSA’s OrgSync page for further information regarding the organization. For immediate questions, contact Dwayne Clay, Brian Huckaby or Domonique Jackson-Russell. To view a complete list of the law school’s student organizations, click here.

AJMLS Meets with Local Lawmakers to Discuss Recidivism and Re-entry Support for the Formerly Incarcerated

The Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning kicks off Pro Bono Month with two separate meetings with some of Atlanta’s most influential political  and community leaders to discuss strategies to reduce recidivism, ensure successful re-entry and increase public knowledge. The law school was identified as a major contributor helping formerly incarcerated persons effectively re-enter society. The first meeting will be with Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner followed by a meeting at  the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry.

The department is also excited to announce their 4th Annual Re-entry Forum to be held at the law school’s Blackburn Conference Center on October 24, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Every year Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School partners with individuals, agencies and organizations that support prisoner re-entry efforts by breaking down barriers, helping individuals and families’ transition, and advocate just treatment and transition that support preventing or reducing recidivism.

In addition to recognizing the individuals and organizations that are making great strides in the community, we also facilitate informative and interactive public discussion between academics, community, religious leaders, ex-offenders, government agencies, non-profit groups, and law students. The forum will culminate with the development of an action plan that will make the criminal justice system less devastating for families and communities impacted by incarceration.

Professor Van Detta Named the John E. Ryan Professor of International Business & Workplace Law

Dean Richardson Lynn is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, in recognition of Professor Jeffrey Van Detta’s distinguished service to the law school, his excellence as a teacher, and the breadth and depth of his scholarship, has conferred upon him a named Chair in Law:  The John E. Ryan Professor Of International Business & Workplace Law. Congratulations Professor Van Detta on this prestigious accomplishment.

Daily Report Interviews Dean Lynn about Spring Enrollment Announcement

Following Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s announcement of its new spring enrollment for prospective students, the Daily Report interviewed Dean Richardson Lynn about the law school’s decision.

For those in a hurry, Lynn said that the spring and summer semesters will comprise the first year, thus allowing a student to compress the normal three years of study into two and a half years. The school says students who enter in the spring will take criminal procedure and criminal law in their first year to ensure they are prepared for the fall semester and second year.  He says the arrangement will require more faculty resources.

“While I always urge college students planning to go to law school to take at least two years off between college and law school,” Lynn adds, “they never listen.  This is a good option for December college graduates who don’t want to wait until the following August and the handful of students who plan to start in August, but have a health or personal issue at the last minute; they could start the next January, rather than wait an entire year.”

For the full story, click here. Prospective student interested in spring admission are encouraged to speak with an admissions professional at admissions@johnmarshall.edu or call (404) 872-3593 ##Ext. 261261. Information regarding our spring admission will also be discussed at the law school’s Fall Prospective Student Open House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the Blackburn Conference Center, located on the campus of the law school. To RSVP, click here.

AJMLS Ranked No. 24 of Top Law Schools for Externships by PreLaw Magazine

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was ranked one of the nation’s top law schools for externships by PreLaw Magazine in their most recent issue. The Back to School edition includes a two-page spread of the top law schools for externship opportunities. AJMLS ranked 24th amongst schools like Brigham Young University (5th) and Drexel University (21st).

According to PreLaw Magazine, “Externship programs continue to expand each year as law school strive to teach more real-life skills and students seek the experience employers’ desire.” The article goes on to say, “Legal educators have been calling for more experiential opportunities since the early 1990s. Now, fueled by the need to better prepare graduates, law school are responding.”

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School would like to recognize Renata Turner and Bridgett Ortega in our Pro Bono and Experiential Learning Department for their hard work and commitment to maximizing opportunities for students through experiential learning.

For the full article from PreLaw Magazine, click here.

Professor Rapping Interviewed by The Seattle Times in Indigent Defense Case

Jon Rapping, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor and founder and president of Gideon’s Promise, a national organization aimed at improving indigent defense, was recently interviewed by The Seattle Times regarding an ongoing indigent-defense case.

The Seattle Times reports:

Today, many in America’s legal and law-enforcement communities — from judges and prosecutors to defense lawyers — believe the promise of Gideon v. Wainwright, grounded in the Sixth Amendment, has mostly gone unfulfilled. To prove it, some point to Mount Vernon and Burlington.

The Skagit County towns are at the center of a groundbreaking class-action civil-rights lawsuit over indigent defense filed two years ago by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging misdemeanor defendants were given little more than a “meet ’em, greet ’em and plead ’em” defense by a pair of public defenders expected to handle more than 2,000 cases a year.

Now, with a Seattle-based U.S. District Court judge set to rule on the case, Mount Vernon and Burlington may become part of an unprecedented solution — the first-ever federal-court takeover of a public-defender system.

The goal, Rapping said, should be that the indigent accused “receive the same kind of representation that you or I would pay for.” The reality at this point, however, is that most public-defender agencies — including the federal Public Defender’s Office — are struggling with budget cuts and a paucity of resources, he said. “It’s unfortunate, but over the years we have become accustomed to a lower standard of justice for poor people,” Rapping said.

To read the full article, click here.

The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Names AJMLS Alumna as New Policy Fellow

The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health announces Jemila Lea as their new Policy Fellow. A Texas native, Lea joins the foundation after receiving her Juris Doctor from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in the spring of 2013. Prior to law school, Lea earned her Bachelor’s Degree in general studies with an emphasis in legal studies from Texas Woman’s University.

Interested in mental health and child advocacy, Lea interned during her time in law school with the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council’s Office of the Mental Health Advocate, where she assisted with representation and monitoring of defendants who had been acquitted with a plea of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI). Additionally, internships with the Honorable Brent Carr in Tarrant County and the Office of the Public Defender Flint Judicial Circuit supplemented her knowledge of mental health policy with valuable experience in a legal setting. A dedicated child advocate, Lea has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children in her home county of Tarrant, Texas, and received Excellence in Pro Bono recognition during her law school graduation.

As a policy fellow, Lea will continue policy work at the Texas capitol initiated by previous fellows and program officers on behalf of the foundation, advocating for systemic change in mental health policy in Texas.

The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research, and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. Congratulations to Jemila Lea on this amazing accomplishment! For more on the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, click here.

AJMLS Alumni Elected to Positions in Young Lawyers Division

Recently alumni from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School were elected to the Member-at-Large Representative of the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Executive Council position. The alumni include Boris Y. Milter (’11), Jackson E. Oliver (’11), and Tiffany M. Simmons (’09). The YLD has been strengthened over the years through guidance by the State Bar of Georgia, its Executive Committee and Board of Directors, the Supreme Court, and through dedicated service rendered by its members. In keeping with its motto of “working for the profession and the public,” the YLD has 27 hard-working committees that provide service to the public, the profession and the Bar through an array of projects and programs. Through the years, the YLD has also gained national recognition by winning several American Bar Association awards for its projects and publications. On behalf of the law school, congratulations to our outstanding alumni.

Professor Mears Reappointed to the Post-Conviction Capital Representation Committee of the State Bar

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Micheal Mears was recently reappointment to a very important State Bar of Georgia committee.  He has been honored to be appointed to the Post-Conviction Capital Representation Committee.  This committee of the State Bar deals with matters relating to the post conviction of defendants in death penalty cases and reports any recommendations to the Board of Governors.

In discussing his appointment, Professor Mears stated, “I know that we all serve the Bar in various ways and serve on important committees and task forces.” He went on to say, “I am especially proud of this Committee Assignment over these past years because it has given me such a great opportunity to continue the work of so many lawyers, both prosecutors and defense attorneys, in addressing the life and death issues of the death penalty.” Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates Professor Mears on his most recent appointment.

Upcoming Gideon’s Army Premiere Receives Increased Media Attention

The upcoming HBO premiere of the documentary Gideon’s Army is already receiving rave reviews from national publications and local papers. The film follows the personal stories of Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Backed by mentor and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise) they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year.

Gideon’s Army in the Press

The New York Times

The Grio

Attorney General Eric Holder Acknowledges Professor Rapping for Work with Gideon’s Promise

At the American Film Institute’s recent screening of Gideon’s Army, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about the film’s impact in the legal community. “Gideon’s Army is a documentary that challenges each of us – as legal professionals, as policymakers, and as patriotic citizens from all backgrounds and walks of life – to reclaim the values enshrined in this important ruling, to ask difficult questions about our criminal justice system as a whole, and to recommit ourselves – as individuals, and as a people – to realizing the founding promise that has always stood at the core of our identity as a nation:  of equal justice, and equal opportunity, for all,” says Holder.

He goes on to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Jon Rapping. Holder says, “Under the leadership of remarkable men and women like Jon Rapping – the founder of Gideon’s Promise, formerly known as the Southern Public Defender Training Center, who we’re fortunate to have with us tonight – they’re fighting to make a difference, once case at a time.  They’re working to restore and improve public defender programs that – in some places – do little more than process people in and out of our courts.”

Rapping later participated in a panel discussion about the film. To read the Attorney General’s full speech, click here. Below please view at short video of  opening day at the American Film Festival where the film was debuted – the first minute of the video discusses Gideon’s Army.

Daily Report Covers HBO Documentary Premiere of AJMLS Professor’s Non-Profit Organization

Scheduled to air on HBO on July 1, Gideon’s Army, which features the law school’s own Professor Jon Rapping’s non-profit organization Gideon’s Promise, held a private screening on June 11. The Daily Report was one of the many media outlets present to cover the event. They reported:

“Three years in the making, Gideon’s Army tells the stories of two Georgia public defenders, Travis Williams and Brandy Alexander, and Mississippi lawyer June Hardwick as they fight for their clients while juggling enormous caseloads and big student loan payments on low salaries.

Gideon’s Army provoked crying, laughter and spontaneous applause during the Atlanta screening. In the film Williams and Alexander work doggedly to help two clients, both teenage boys charged with armed robbery, fight prosecution in a system where high bonds, steep mandatory sentences and limited resources wear down even the most dedicated public defenders.

HBO bought Gideon’s Army after seeing just 20 minutes of footage, Porter said. The film went on to win the Sundance Film Festival’s Editing Award in January.”

To view the full Daily Report article, click here. Once again, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is appreciative of the attention and community support Professor Rapping and his organization have received.

AJMLS Hosts High School Pipeline Program on Campus

The State Bar of Georgia Diversity Program (GDP) in partnership with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) and The Leadership Institute for Women of Color Attorneys, Inc. (LIWOCA) sponsored its 6th High School Pipeline Program.  The program was held at AJMLS from May 28 – June 7, 2013 where  Teach for America’s Pierce Hand taught the students daily one-hour sessions of grammar and writing; and speech classes were taught by the school’s law professors, attorneys at GDP member law firms and corporations, and LIWOCA attorneys.  The students visited law firms and corporate law offices daily where they were mentored on topics including social media etiquette, dining room etiquette, credit, study skills, interviewing skills and selecting the college of your choice.   Students also engaged in one-on-one mentoring sessions with attorneys and summer associates.  The program concluded with an oral and written competition and an ice cream social at one of the GDP firms.

AJMLS Professor Joins Group of National Experts at the White House

Professor Rapping was among a group of national experts invited to the White House on June 5, 2013 to discuss Judicial Vacancies and the Importance of the Courts.  With five unfilled vacancies on the Eleventh Circuit and Northern District of Georgia, four of which are considered judicial emergencies, the situation is particularly pressing for Georgians.  Professor Rapping then joined a small Georgia delegation to meet with staff for Senators Isakson and Chambliss to discuss the problem of unfilled vacancies on Georgia’s federal courts and the risk it poses to the efficient functioning of our judicial system. Once again, another exciting accomplishment for our faculty.

AJMLS Adjunct Professor Appointed Juvenile Court Judge

On May 21, 2013, Judge Willie J. Lovett, Jr. began serving as a Juvenile Court Judge for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit in Fulton County, Georgia.  Judge Lovett will preside over all juvenile matters originating in Fulton County and will provide leadership to the Juvenile Court as it prepares to implement Georgia’s new Juvenile Code, which will become law on January 1, 2014.  Judge Lovett also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where he teaches Georgia Practice and Procedure and Local Government Law.  In 2012, Judge Lovett became certified by the American Bar Association and the National Association of Counsel for Children as a Child Welfare Law Specialist (“CWLS”).  Judge Lovett is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Association of Counsel for Children and the Georgia Association of Counsel for Children. 


Prior to this appointment as Juvenile Judge, Judge Lovett served as the Director of the Fulton County Child Attorney’s Office.  In that role, he managed the attorneys, investigators, social workers and administrative staff, ensuring that constitutional and statutory mandates are met utilizing the American Bar Association Standards of Practice for Lawyers Who Represent Children in Abuse and Neglect Cases, (NACC Revised Version).  Judge Lovett has also served as Deputy County Attorney for the Fulton County Attorney’s Office where he was lead litigation counsel for Fulton County in the Kenny A. v. Perdue litigation, originally filed in 2002.  Prior to joining the Fulton County Attorney’s Office, Judge Lovett clerked for the Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett, former Chief Judge of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Atlanta’s Law Department, and worked as an associate at several Atlanta law firms. 


In 1985, Judge Lovett earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, cum laude with Distinction in the major from Yale University, where he received the 1985 Roosevelt Thompson Prize for commitment to public service.  In 1988, Judge Lovett earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where he served as a Comments Editor on the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and in 1991, he earned his Master of Laws in Litigation from Emory Law School.  Judge Lovett is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia, the Georgia Supreme Court and the Georgia Court of Appeals.


Judge Lovett is a native of Savannah, Georgia, currently resides in Fairburn, Georgia and is married to Seletha R. Butler, Esq.



AJMLS Alumna Appointed to the American Bar Association

Starting in August, Heather Hale (‘11) will serve as the District 12 Representative for the American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyers Division. District 12 covers the states of Georgia and Alabama. Heather was selected for this position by the State Bar of Georgia, and will represent the GA YLD at ABA meetings and assemblies. Her other responsibilities will include coordinating all disaster relief legal aid through the ABA for Georgia and Alabama. District Representatives serve a two year term, and Heather is excited for this opportunity.

AJMLS Graduation

Representative Doug Collins (’07)  of Georgia’s 9th District was the keynote speaker at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Commencement, held Saturday, May 18, 2013, at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. During the ceremonies, the law school conferred nine Master of Law degrees and more than 220 Juris Doctor degrees.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws, Honorus Causa, on Dean James P. White.  Dean White is a member of the AJMLS Board of Directors and continues to contribute to legal education and society.  Also honored during the ceremonies were our Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, Representative Doug Collins (’07) and Mr. Tavis Knighten (’05).

We are very proud of and would like to congratulate all of our 2013 graduates and thank Representative Collins for his poignant and inspirational commencement address.


AJMLS Students Travel to the Republic of Liberia with Lawyers Without Borders

Lawyers Without Borders recently hosted its third training on Trafficking in Persons in Monrovia, Liberia. The training is part of a three-year program sponsored in part by the United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and was the first in a series of three annual trainings to complement a range of other program activities being undertaken throughout Liberia.

Amongst a very prestigious delegation of U.S. Federal Judges, and partners and associates from major law firms in the U.S. and U.K., were Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students Amyia McCarthy and Xavier Cunningham. These 3L students were selected to participate in this global initiative, and functioned as vital support staff to the lead trainers.

The Republic of Liberia is on the West Coast of Africa, and was established by the American Colonization Society in 1822 as a haven for freed slaves from the United States. Following over a century of progress, from 1990 to 2003 Liberia self-destructed through civil war. In 2003, a comprehensive peace accord was implemented and since then Liberia has been on an upward trajectory.

Xavier and Amyia would like to send a special note of gratitude to Professor Turner, Professor Brown, Dean Harrison, and Professor Baker for their guidance and encouragement.

AJMLS Dedicates Law Library to Esteemed Faculty Member

On April 29, 2013, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School dedicated its law library to Michael J. Lynch, Director of the Law Library and Professor. The dedication ceremony, attended by faculty, staff and students, was a fitting recognition of Professor Lynch’s work in expanding the library and library services, a key part of obtaining full ABA approval for the law school. 

His success with the library, given the resources he had to work with, could not have been duplicated by any other law librarian in the country,” said Dean Richardson Lynn.Professor Lynch has been important in the life of the law school in multiple roles, including his teaching of Contracts.  His support for our students and the way he roots for them is most inspiring.” Thank you Professor Lynch for your hard work and commitment to the John Marshall community. Congratulations!

AJMLS Professor Weighs in on Anti-Bullying Laws

Elizabeth Jaffe, Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was a recent panelist at a daylong cyberbullying conference at Rutgers University in New Jersey where lawyers, scholars, educators, and others discussed the difficulties of drawing a legal line that determines if schools – or parents – are culpable. An excerpt from the article is below.

“I think New Jersey is on the right track,” said Elizabeth Jaffe, an associate professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School who has studied New Jersey’s anti-bullying law. “Nobody can jump in and get it right perfectly. It will take time to see how it plays out.”

Jaffe, also a panelist at the event, said afterward that questions arise as to whether the law is too vague and gives districts too much leeway in deciding what is cyberbullying.

“Is it too vague, is just saying ‘I don’t like your clothes’ amount to bullying,” she said. “You need to ask how pervasive it is, what is the extent of it.”

To read the full article, click here.

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Recognizes AJMLS Graduate

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) recently recognized AJMLS graduate Jack Reeves in their April newsletter. Reeves, a 1976 John Marshall graduate, was highlighted for being a pioneer in using the Internet in Africa in the late 1990s.

The article says, “Jack Reeves, then Head of the Information Services Program, sent a short message to the National Agriculture and Animal Research Institute (NAARI), Namulonge, Uganda, to test a recently installed high frequency radio link with NAARI. The link connected NAARI to the national telephone system, in Kampala, and through an Internet service provider (ISP) to the Internet and thereby the world. Because of this, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has called IITA a ‘pioneer’ for using the Internet in USAID’s AfricaLink program to connect national agricultural researchers in Africa with the resources of the Institute’s library and international staff.” To view the full article and other stories from the IITA newsletter, click here.

AJMLS Hosts Sixth Annual Youth and the Law Summit

The Sixth Annual Youth and the Law Summit was held on Saturday, April 20, 2013, at Atlanta’s John Marshall’s Blackburn Center.  Each year the Summit introduces minority middle and high school students to the law through an examination of emerging legal issues that directly impact their lives.  .  The program has become a much anticipated event for participating schools and students.  This year’s Summit focused on both cyber bullying and the legislative process.  During the morning session, students learned how a bill becomes a law. Students were also introduced to DiscoverLaw.org, a LSAC funded program designed to increase minority enrollment in law schools.  After lunch, students presented arguments for and against proposed anti-bullying legislation before a congressional committee comprised of high school students. Students made eloquent first amendment, privacy and policy arguments in support of their positions. 

The Gate City Bar Association has partnered with John Marshall since 2008 to organize this dynamic program as part of Gate City’s and John Marshall’s continued commitment to strengthening the pipeline to law school for minority students.  The Summit is co-chaired by Darrick McDuffie of King and Spalding and Gate City, and Prof. Renata D. Turner. Special thanks to Debra Tavares of Soulstice, Inc., Natasha Berry, and John Marshall’s student ambassadors for their contributions to the success of this year’s program.


LL.M. Graduate Speaks at Northeastern University School of Law Symposium

Christina Harris Schwinn is a recent graduate from the inaugural cohort of the LL.M. in Employment Law program at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. As a final project, Schwinn and her classmates presented a Thesis Presentation at the law school.  As a result of the thesis, which has been submitted for publication, Northeastern University School of Law’s law review team invited her to speak at its recent symposium on employee misclassification entitled Are You Employed or Just Working. The panelists included law professors from a number of different law schools, practicing attorneys and attorneys working for various not-for-profit organizations.  Schwinn recalled the symposium saying, “The experience was very gratifying personally and it provided a tremendous opportunity for the attendees to see a much bigger picture regarding the stark realities that exist in the world of work today and changes on the horizon.”

She also credits the law school for broadening her understanding of the employment law field. “Obtaining my LL.M. in Employment Law from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School has allowed me to participate in new opportunities that were not readily accessible to me before in academia,” she said. “One of the reasons that I wanted to pursue an LL.M. in Employment Law is because I have a desire to teach in the future at the university level or even at a law school.”

To read more about Schwinn, click here.

AJMLS Director of Admissions Tells the AJC ‘It’s Never Too Late for Law School’

In a recent interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AJMLS Director of Admissions Rebecca Stafford spoke with Martha Foster about the why nontraditional students thrive at our law school. “We take a very holistic approach, taking into account the applicant’s experience and ability to overcome life’s obstacles,” Stafford said. “When students apply, we encourage them to attach an addendum to their application to explain any gaps in their life or work experience, or to state anything they feel is important about themselves that may not be asked on the application form.”

Another aspect Stafford mentioned that allows traditional and nontraditional students to thrive at AJMLS is the small community feel and personalized attention students receive from faculty, staff, alumni, and the administration. “We only have 650 students across our entire program; it is a small community. You will know the faculty and our alums are very active in events on campus. Networking starts right after orientation.”

The AJC also spoke with AJMLS student Ginger Fowler about her nontraditional path to law school and the power of perseverance. “You are never too old to go back to school to learn,” Fowler said. “There are so many things you can do with a law degree.” At one point, Fowler remembers telling the Office of Admissions, “You know what? That LSAT score tells you nothing about me, my tenacity or my dedication. Somebody, at some point, is going to let me in.” She was right and two days after that phone call she was accepted to the law school. Now a few short years later, Fowler will join her fellow classmates on May 18th for the 2013 Commencement Ceremony.

To read the full article, click here. To learn more about the rigorous, innovative, and specialized J.D. programs offered to full-time and part-time students, visit www.johnmarshall.edu.

AJMLS Adjunct Professor Interviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Baptist preacher, a prosecutor, and an adjunct professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School – John Melvin has a full plate of duties, responsibilities, and obligations. In a recent article by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Professor Melvin was asked about how he seamlessly balances being a prosecutor and preacher. “Being a prosecutor isn’t that different from being a pastor in some ways,” Melvin says. Instead of teaching a congregation about the Bible, he instructs juries on Georgia law. Excerpts from the article are below.

To view the full article, click here. Congratulations Professor Melvin for receiving recognition for your years of service to the community and your congregation.

As a Baptist preacher, John Melvin is patient with sinners. As a prosecutor, he has earned a reputation for doggedly pursuing them.

Over the past 18 years, Melvin has worked as a prosecutor in Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cobb counties and has become one of the state’s most experienced prosecutors of corrupt public figures. Not only that, Melvin has spent the last 15 years pastoring a congregation of about 75 souls at Camp Creek Primitive Baptist Church in Lilburn.

Like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, the worship services are held in a small, white country church where the congregation sits in maplewood pews and sings without instrumental accompaniment from an old-timey hymnal.

AJMLS Professor Recognized for Work with Non-Profit Organization, Gideon’s Promise

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the landmark United States Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) would like to recognize the work of Professor Jonathan Rapping and his non-profit organization, Gideon’s Promise (formerly the Southern Public Defender Training Center). Professor Rapping was recently interviewed by USA Today, and the Miami Herald for his contributions and service. Additionally, Rapping wrote an op-ed for The Huffington Post and a letter for The New York Times.

At the upcoming Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Criminal Justice Honors Open House, Professor Rapping will discuss the soon-to-be-released award-winning HBO documentary, Gideon’s Army, featuring his non-profit organization. Gideon’s Army follows three Gideon’s Promise public defenders who are trained and supported by Professors Rapping, Fulcher, Saviello and a national faculty of current and former public defenders. The open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on March 30, 2013 at the Blackburn Conference Center, located at 1405 Spring St. NW Atlanta, GA 30309. Parking will be available in the parking garage attached to the law school. Please RSVP to the Office of Admissions at admissions@johnmarshall.edu or (404) 872-3593 ##Ext. 201.

European Law Journal Appoints Associate Dean Van Detta to Permanent Board of Peer-Review Referees

Merkourios, Utrecht Journal of International and European Law, has appointed Jeffrey Van Detta, Associate Dean for Scholarship and Professor of Law at AJMLS, to its Permanent Board of Referees. 

Merkourios is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, student-led law journal, which focuses on international and European law.  The Journal provides immediate, open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the community of scholars and to a wider public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

Merkourios is affiliated with Utrecht University and Urios.  Utrecht University, located in Utrecht, Netherlands, is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe.  See  http://www.uu.nl/EN/Pages/default.aspx    Urios is the Utrecht Study Association for International and European Law.   Founded in 1981, Urios has a membership of 250 students, which includes both Utrecht students and exchange students.   The mission of Urios is to introduce students to International and European law on a more practical level, as explained on its webpage at http://www.urios.org/1/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69&Itemid=55

The Referee Board is a new initiative that the 2012-2013 Board of Editors of Merkourios has inaugurated.  By establishing the Permanent Board of Referees, Merkourios aims to further develop the Journal by achieving higher standards of academic quality and by enhancing cooperation within its network of referees and authors.

Members of the Permanent Board of Referees report their professional opinions on the academic quality of articles that the student Editors have previously reviewed and identified as worthy of further consideration for publication.   Rendered on the basis of anonymous peer review, the reports from the Journal’s Referees are a determinative factor in the Journal’s final publication decisions.

Merkourios appointed Associate Dean Van Detta as a member of the Permanent Board of Referees based on his expertise and scholarly publications in the areas of Trans-National Commercial Law, International Business Transactions, International Civil Litigation, Private International Law, Employment and Labour Law, and Jurisprudence.   Associate Dean Van Detta teaches courses encompassing those areas in AJMLS’s J.D. Program, American Legal Studies LL.M. Program, and Employment Law LL.M. Program.

“I believe very passionately in the kind of scholarly work carried on by Merkourios, in which both law students and experienced faculty collaborate in evaluating and publishing scholarship of the highest calibre,” Associate Dean Van Detta commented.  In his view, “that is an ideal combination of talents, perspectives, and expertise for the dynamic areas of legal scholarship which Merkourios embraces.”

The most recent issue of Merkourios—the General Issue 2013 (Vol 29, No 76)— may be viewed at http://www.merkourios.org/index.php/mj/issue/current

Associate Dean Van Detta also has three articles of his own in the publication process thus far this year:   Some Legal Considerations For EU-Based MNEs Contemplating High-Risk Foreign Direct Investments In The Energy Sector, 9 South Carolina  J.  Int’l  L. & Bus. __ (Issue 2, Spring 2013); Transnational Legal Services In Globalized Economies: American Leadership, Not Mere Compliance, With GATS Through Qualifying LL.M. Degree Programs For Foreign-Educated Lawyers Seeking State-Bar Admissions, 12 Hofstra J. Int’l Bus. & L. ___ (Spring 2013); and Politics And Legal Regulation In The International Business Environment: An FDI Case Study Of Alstom, S.A., In Israel, 21 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 301 (Spring 2013).

VIDEO: GPTV Interviews Professor Mears Regarding Death Penalty Laws

In a recent interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting Television, Michael Mears, Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, was interviewed on the station’s program entitled “The Lawmakers”. During the segment, Professor Mears and three other experts discussed Georgia’s standard of proof required to show that an individual is mentally retarded.

“Under Georgia law, a person is not eligible for execution if they are found to be mentally retarded,” said Professor Mears. “However, the standard for proving that a person is mental retarded is extremely high. The defendant claiming mental retardation as a bar to execution must prove to a jury that he or she is mentally retarded by the standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’  This is the highest standard under our legal system.”

Professor Mears’ segment begins at 15 minutes. To view the video, click here.

AJMLS Students Awarded First Place at Regional Transactional LawMeet

On Friday, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School sent two teams to compete at the 2013 Regional Transactional LawMeet competition hosted by Emory University.  Before the competition, teams were assigned a side in a transaction – buyer or seller – and exchanged drafts of a contract.  At the event the teams met in person to negotiate the contract.  The law school is pleased to announce that our team, consisting of Bentley Adams, Benjamin Stidham, and Amy Zapatka, was awarded first place on the seller side.

Also competing at the Regional meet were one or more teams from the following schools: University of Georgia, Emory University, University of Tennessee, Washington and Lee University, Loyola University, William & Mary University, and Nova Southeastern University.  Due to our team’s outstanding achievement at the Regional meet, the team has been invited, along with the University of Georgia (which was awarded best team for the buyer), to represent the Southeast at the 2013 National Transactional LawMeet in Philadelphia in late March.  This was a great accomplishment for the team.

Congratulations to Bentley, Benjamin, and Amy for representing John Marshall and its outstanding student body.

AJMLS Students Become Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition Regional Champions

It is with great pleasure that Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School announces that Kandice Allen and Stefanie Hilliard are the SRBLSA Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition Regional ChampionsKandice and Stefanie placed first in the competition, by outperforming 23 other teams.  This victory makes them the first team in John Marshall’s history to win first prize in this competition. In addition to winning the competition, Stefanie also received the Outstanding Oral Advocate award.

The school would also like to recognize Hunter Millwood for his phenomenal advocacy in the competition!  Not only did he perform well in the competition, but he also showed an unparalleled level of team spirit and humility by helping the coaches prepare Kandice and Stefanie for the final round of the competition. This was a collective effort, and AJMLS thanks you for your time, dedication, and input. John Marshall looks forward to watching you shine in future competitions.  In the words of one of the competition judges, “You should definitely plan to take your career into the courtroom, because you are a natural.”

Finally, the school would like to thank Lauren McAlpin, Sharee Tumbling, Ashley Barnett, Shaheem Williams, Kristal Ramirez, Derric Crowther, Tiffany Simmons, Zaira Solano, Nick Kitchens, Jacqueline Givens, Professor Van Detta, Professor de Haven, Professor Kent, Professor Stevens, Professor Doneff, Professor Gelin, Professor Williams, Professor Burch and Professor Redleaf-Durbin for benching the team.  You made significant contributions to the team’s success and your time and feedback are truly appreciated.

As a result of the team’s win at Regionals, Kandice and Stefanie will compete in the National FDMC Competition in early March.  This competition will take place in Atlanta, at AJMLS. Please congratulate Kandice, Stefanie, and Hunter for a job well done.

AJMLS Announces Relocation Tuition Credit for Incoming Students

In an effort to ease the economic burden of students entering law school, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently announced the Relocation Tuition Credit program for incoming students. The Relocation Tuition Credit is designed to assist students with the costs associated with moving to Atlanta. To be eligible for the program, an entering student must be relocating to Atlanta from a distance of more than 100 miles away. Once verified, students will receive a one-time credit in the amount of $1,000, applied towards the fall term tuition in which they begin study.

To apply, complete the Relocation Tuition Credit application and submit it to the Office of Admissions by July 15, 2013. Prospective students interested in this opportunity are encouraged to speak with an Admissions professional today at 404-872-3593 or email admissions@johnmarshall.edu!

AJMLS Professor Publishes Book on New Georgia Evidence Code

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School adjunct professor Michael Carlson has recently released a highly anticipated, first-of-its-kind book on Georgia’s new evidence code.

Carlson on Evidence: Comparing the Georgia and Federal Rules by Ronald L. Carlson and Michael Scott Carlson was published in December 2012 by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia. It is a rule-by-rule comparison of the new and former Georgia, as well as the federal evidence rules.

Michael Carlson serves as Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney and head of the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Gang Prosecution Unit. He teaches advanced evidence and advanced criminal procedure at John Marshall. His father, co-author Ronald Carlson, is the Fuller E. Callaway Chair of Law Emeritus at the University of Georgia Law School and has authored numerous leading publications on evidence, trial practice and criminal law.

In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly voted to comprehensively rewrite the state’s 150-year old evidence code to model the Federal Rules of Evidence. The new evidence code became effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Carlson on Evidence is a user-friendly book that identifies the differences between the state’s new and old evidence code with the federal rules. This comprehensive break-down of the evidence code is essential to practicing law in Georgia,” John Marshall Dean of Academics Kevin Cieply said. “We are honored to have our students learning from one of the premier scholars on Georgia’s new evidence code.”

The Carlsons have taught various continuing judicial and legal education programs on the new evidence code to numerous members of Georgia’s bench and bar. In December, they hosted the Carlson on Evidence seminar, which served as the formal launch of the book. That program was a sold-out event at the Georgia State Bar headquarters and was simulcast live to other State Bar satellite offices. The event was attended by numerous John Marshall alumni, faculty and students.

For more information or to purchase the Carlson on Evidence book, visit http://www.iclega.org/.

AJMLS Announces New Assistant Dean for Career Development

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to announce Ivonne Betancourt will now serve the law school in the role of Assistant Dean for Career Development. Since 2006, she has been a vital part of the success the Career Development Office has experienced.  “Ivonne has done an incredible job growing the Career Development Office during her time at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Students are highly satisfied with the assistance she and her staff provide as they look for jobs,” said Richardson Lynn, Dean of the law school. “Our placement rate has been remarkable, even during the last few tough years in the economy, and she will supervise the same effort at Savannah Law School.  The title “Assistant Dean” merely recognizes her outstanding service to John Marshall.”

On behalf of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, thank you Ivonne for your hard work and dedication to the school.  Congratulations on a job well done and we wish you continued success in your new position!

Professor Mears Quoted in the AJC about the Death Penalty

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Michael Mears was recently interviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the decline in death penalty rulings in Georgia and nationwide. Based on a survey designed to track capital punishment nationwide, it appears more juries are less likely to opt for the death penalty. The article stated, “Only twice this year did a Georgia jury choose death as the punishment for murder. Those numbers are consistent with recent years, as the death penalty has been on the wane for more than a decade in Georgia and nationally.”

Viewed as a death penalty expert, Professor Mears said, “Jurors are finally catching on that sentencing someone to death really doesn’t accomplish any sense of justice for the victim’s family. Jurors are beginning to believe that life without parole does mean life without parole. The gloss is off the death penalty in many, many cases and it’s showing up on the number of death penalty cases.”

Professor Mears said he believes the cost of death penalty trials is part of the reason district attorneys are not seeking the punishment as often as they did in the past. He goes on to say a death case can cost $1 million to $1.5 million, including appeals. The article mentioned the death penalty trial of convicted courthouse killer Brian Nichols cost $3.2 million to which Professor Mears responded, “Cases like the Brian Nichols case can break the back of the public defender system.”

Professor Mears teaches Advanced Criminal Procedure, Advanced Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence at the law school.

Dean Cieply to Participate in Experts Roundtable at Emory University

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Dean of Academics and Associate Professor Kevin Cieply was recently invited to join an experts roundtable hosted at Emory University by its International Humanitarian Law Clinic. The event, titled  “The Application of the Law of Armed Conflict in Situations of Organized Crime and Armed Conflict” will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on January 22, 2013 at the university. The focus of the program centers around the clinic’s goal to promote the law of armed conflict and fight to eliminate torture, war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

Dean Cieply is joined by many notable and respected experts in the field from Jennifer Daskal of Georgetown Law School and Geoffrey Corn of South Texas College of Law to Sandy Hodgkinson, Former Chief of Staff, Deputy Secretary of Defense and many more. Congratulations Dean Cieply for being selected to lend his expertise to this event. For the full list of roundtable participants, click here.

AJMLS Ranked No. 13 of Top 50 Most Diverse Law Schools

The National Jurist recently ranked every ABA-accredited law school in the nation to find the school with the most diverse student population. Their results landed Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in the Top 20. The November 2012 issue of the magazine ranks AJMLS number 13 among schools like the University of the District of Columbia (#1), American University (#25), and Harvard Law School  (#43).

To determine how the schools would be ranked, The National Jurist judged each school based on six elements: percentage of minority faculty, percentage of African-American students, percentage of Asian and Hawaiian students, percentage of Hispanic students, percentage of American Indian students and other minorities, and percentage of Caucasian students. Each school was assigned a number from one to 10 in each category.

Schools that matched the U.S. national average for any race, received a seven. However, schools with 30 percent or higher than the national average, received a 10. The National Jurist offers this example, “13.1 percent of the U.S. population is black. Florida Coastal School of Law, with 13.2 percent black students, received a seven. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, with a 24.2 percent black student body…received a 10.”

For the full article, click here.